One of my favorite things about road trips is snacking. Usually, in my regular life, I try to eat somewhat healthy and stick to three square meals a day — very little snacking allowed and when I do, it’s usually something healthy like fruit or a granola bar. When on vacation, however, I allow myself to (over)indulge, which includes snacking on whatever catches my eye at the moment.
In Cambodia, snacking appears to be very popular. Most snacks sold are cheap and fulfill impulse needs. On most streets and in the local markets, you are likely to find vendors hawking everything from a can of Coke to durian to snails.
The snacks that intrigued Edna Krabappel and I the most were the ones sold at road side stands near bus stops. These stands exist because of a conveniently available market: people traveling throughout the country via buses, cars, minivans, motos, and tuk-tuks stopping in designated towns (usually at some designated restaurant) to use the bathroom or refuel.
On our way from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, we saw the above items for sale. On the left is a large pile of deep-fried grasshoppers with green onion and chilis. I won’t deny that the smell from the deep frying (like perfectly cooked french fries) made me want to buy some, but I thought better of it once I saw the cloud of dust that graced the grasshoppers after a bus went by. On the right are what I believe are deep-fried waterbugs. While the grasshoppers didn’t scare me, the sight of the waterbugs were less than appealing.
Edna and I debated whether they were bats or maybe some other flying creatures, but we couldn’t figure it out (and the ladies who were selling the goods weren’t very fluent in English).
Behind the birds/bats/whatever sits a pile of tarantulas (more on them in a later post). Behind the tarantulas were frogs and behind the frogs were more grasshoppers.
While I was once again tempted to give one or all of these a try, Edna reminded me that being on a bus for many hours with a tummy ache and no bathroom may not be in my best interest.
Regardless, these products appeared to be pretty fresh as demonstrated by one of the nice vendor ladies and her “friend.”