Whilst most of us would consider eating these little critters as off-putting and something you wouldn’t catch up doing in a million years, in all over Southeast Asia, deep fried frogs, crickets, locusts and many more are considered being more than just a tasty treat. They are highly nutritious and not the sort of thing you eat every day. They are well and truly classed as special food and gobbled on for many a special occasion. In my time travelling in Southeast Asia I have indulged in scorpions on sticks, crispy fried frogs and curiously crunchy crickets. I have got to say they are delicious and I have been converted.
My first experience was when I was presented with a scorpion on the well-known Kao San Road in Bangkok. I didn’t think twice and devoured it immediately. I must say out of the few I have tried, this one is the hardest to keep down and larger than the others. Since then in Prek Eng, Cambodia on an evening walk around the local market with two fabulously friendly volunteers from Indonesia with whom I am volunteering with, we decided to have a fun fear factor session. I was slightly apprehensive this time around mainly due to sobriety but I went for it and before I knew it, the deep-fried frog was gone. It was truly Chengan Na (Delicious – in Khmer), tasting like crispy chicken skin and most definitely moreish.
Between then and now, I have unfortunately not had the opportunity to eat anymore until two nights ago. During our evening meal that we all happily spend together, one of the Cambodian students who lives with us proudly presented two bowls of crispy crickets. Another volunteer from Hong Kong who I must say has more than a slight fear of insects and creepy crawlies, did not seem too keen but after a little bit of persuasion there she was nibbling away. She too was surprised and it was a fantastic photo moment. I am not sure if she is going start eating them for breakfast but this was highly amusing for the locals and very quickly our dinner table was filled with joy and laughter.