Geek Trivia

In Which Country Are Fried Tarantulas Considered A Delicacy?

China
Laos
Cambodia
Mongolia
Loofahs Are Made From The Dried Out Bodies Of?
Street vendor selling fried tarantulas on the street in Cambodia
Mat Connolley/Wikimedia

Answer: Cambodia

Around the world, you’ll often run into strange foods while traveling. More often than not, the strange foods aren’t particularly beloved by the locals, but exist as a sort of novelty for tourists passing through the region.

In Cambodia, however, what appears to be a shocking novelty is actually a beloved local delicacy: fried tarantulas. The practice dates back to the 1970s when hardship under the rule of the Khmer Rouge led Cambodians to eat anything that would provide sustenance, including a wide variety of insects and arachnids. While many of the things they ate under such austere conditions were abandoned as soon as their political and economical stability improved, some things stuck around, including fried tarantulas, silk worms, and grasshoppers.

Not only did the practice of eating tarantulas stick around, but it’s now an expensive delicacy. Large fried tarantulas cost $1 each (a significant sum of money in a country with a minimum daily wage of around $6). Because of the expense, the practice is limited to special occasions as opposed to serving as a routine snack—but not for lack of desire. So what does fried tarantula taste like? If prepared properly, it reportedly has a taste like well-seasoned crab meat. Given that both spiders and crabs are in the phylum¬†Arthropoda, we suppose it makes more sense that large spiders taste like crabs and not, say, chicken. Either way, we’re content to trust the people who have partaken in the matter and report about it from afar.