Cure Your Arachnophobia by Eating a Couple Fried Tarantulas.
If you are arachnophobic and greatly fear spiders, you can truly face your fear in Cambodia by sampling one of the strangest local fares, crunchy fried tarantulas. Throughout markets in Phnom Penh and in the small Cambodian town called Skuon, fried tarantula, also called a-ping, is a popular snack that locals and tourists simply love. If you find the right vendor, you may even get to handle a live tarantula if you’re brave enough, and then take a bite of one of his cousins!
These spiders are Zebra tarantulas, which are native to the forests of Cambodia. These days enterprising individuals breed their own tarantulas in burrows for the sole purposes of frying, eating, and selling them. It is normal to see a vendor with several buckets full of live spiders, ready to fry up for the next hungry customer. The Zebra tarantula has a nasty bite, so be sure not to get too close to the bucket unless you want to have a close encounter of the hairy, scary kind! In the Skuon snack market, there are many unusual foods that you can try. From fried water bugs to eggs containing chicken embryos, this market is filled with things you probably have never dreamed of touching, much less eating.
If you need a further incentive to try a-ping, you should know that the local women believe that it will greatly enhance their beauty. Even the kids in Cambodia are brave enough to eat these deep fried tarantulas, so don’t be scared. Once you bit into this crispy arachnid treat, you are sure to have a one of a kind experience. Not everyone will consume the abdomen though, so don’t feel obligated to unless you are alright with the idea of swallowing a couple “damp cobwebs.”