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9 Street food you must try when you travel to Cambodia

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Cambodian food in Siem Reap

In Cambodia food is very important and street food is everywhere. One of the first things we ask when we meet people is “How are you, have you eaten?”. So what best but to introduce some of our preferred Cambodian Snacks and Khmer cuisine, its street food, and classic Khmer ingredients. You can find them in any foodie night market where you have many options regarding Khmer recipes. Keep your mind open and your palate will appreciate them, 100% guarantee.

Water Beetles

Yes, it is scary even to get rid of a beetle you find in your home. But trust me, it is different here in Cambodia. Our Siem Reap beetles are clean…and tasty! To give you some hints or if you are not coming in our After Dark Food Tour here is one of the few tips we pass during our tours: The female water beetles are much meatier and are therefore sold at a higher price. The male water beetles have a pointy black piece under their shell that needs to be pulled off before you eat it. Just close your eyes and crunch. Once you start enjoying this crunchy tasty appetizer you can move to the next Khmer snack.

Crickets

This crunchy delicacy takes some bravery to try, but it’s most definitely worth a try. Crickets are served deep-fried and are cooked with lots of seasoning, so they have quite a strong taste. Crickets are often caught during the night by farmers for some extra money or protein and are then either eaten at family dinner, for a snack, or they are sold to surrounding markets.

Frogs

The frog is delicious! Somewhat people are hesitant to try them initially. But if you come on holiday in Cambodia, you should try it. It is one of the things to do in Siem Reap. For sure once you try, you do it again and again. The taste of the frog can be compared to chicken. In Cambodia, the frogs are small so we often stuffed them with pork and veggies. There is lemongrass, herbs, and tons of spices mixed in, making the frog very flavorful. If you are feeling reluctant, mix it with rice, and take a bite.

Ants

Before talking Ants in Khmer food tour two amazing facts about them. First, always remember, they can carry up to 50 times their own weight. Then the only continent where you cannot find ants is Antarctica, what a name then!
Now diving in the food part one of the benefits of eating ants is the low calories, low fat, and high protein aspect. Anyone said they are perfect for a diet?
But finally, about this Cambodia Dish, let’s read one of our guest comments, we could not explain it better: “Now I didn’t realize I was eating ants as I swallowed them, which was probably better. It was night time, and I guess I was deep in conversation when the discussion carried on about the ants we would try. It’s an easy thing to miss, seeing as the ants were mixed in with meat and vegetables. When I was told I was eating ants I was in disbelief. So I put my flashlight on the plate, and, yup, there they were. They added a delicious sour taste to the dish, and I highly recommend you try them. Plus, they are high in protein!”

Grasshopper

How do we catch them? At night farmers go into the bush surrounding their homes to catch them while their sleeping and not moving. The get them one-by-one, so it’s not an easy job. They search for them with a light on their head. How to prepare grasshoppers? First, put them in salt water for a few hours, and then marinate them with whatever flavor you fancy. Second, deep fry them for 5 – 10 minutes depending on the size and they are ready to serve.
Why do we eat grasshoppers? Because they are a good source of high protein, vitamin C and iron and, of course, no fat. What we like the most is that we can still catch them in the wild, because they are not being farmed yet. Maybe that is something for the future. For me, I like to eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I would like to recommend them to all my guests, because they are quite tasty and crunchy, just like a good snack should be.

Silkworm cocoons

The silkworm is a juicy creature that tastes like boiled peanuts. It is good for you in general and especially for your body’s joints. Instead of taking fish oil supplements, we eat this! They are brown and look a bit fat. Silkworms are also deep-fried, and we can eat them warm or cold, with or without rice. After they have been cooked, there are two types of silkworms: when they are flat shaped, they are dryer and easy for beginners to try. The other type is firm, round, and fatter and but you are most welcome to also taste this one in our After Dark Food Tour.

Water buffalo meat and crocodile​

Why do we prefer buffalo meat? Because it tastes sweeter than cow meat. What we have on the food tour for our guests to try is buffalo jerky. This is dried buffalo meat that was already seasoned and ready to grill. The seasoning is galangal herb or ginger and 99% of our guests try it and love it. Buffalo jerky is especially good with a beer.

Crocodile is prepared in the same way as water buffalo jerky but tastes more like fish. The ones that we eat these days are farmed mainly for leather and are not from the wild.

Kralan

It doesn’t have the most unique flavor, but something draws you into it. Maybe it’s the effort that it takes to be made, or maybe because it’s so unlikely a snack we would have anywhere else. Kralan is made with rice, coconut milk, black beans, and bamboo, and it’s a lengthy process. The ingredients are placed inside of the bamboo, which is then cooked for almost an hour. That’s a long time for a snack that is sold for just 30 cents per stick. When ready it’s super easy to eat! Just peel the bamboo sections off and you’ve got a delicious snack.

We at Vespa Adventures provides a Food Tour every day to teach you and give a great inside of our Khmer and Cambodian Food. The After Dark Food Tour start at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. You will be shown our way to eat. Be prepared to amazed your palate and discover new taste.

Want to try all of this and more? Book our After Dark Food tour

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