Eating Local Delicacies in Seam Reap, Cambodia
The last night in Siem Reap, we went to Fila’s mates place for dinner. Dinner seems like a very understated way to describe the amazing food they prepared for us.
Feast is probably more like it.
The food was fantastic as was the hospitality and of course an amazing meal of local meats, rices & noodles wouldn't be complete without a few rice wines. While I'm not a fan or this stuff (its just like drinking metho!) this was by far the “best” rice wine we'd had while in Cambodia.
After dinner Toll and his wife (through Toll translating) told us the story of how they came to be there, which was very humbling.
Toll bought their block of land for $400 in 1987 and then, as he could afford it, bought timbers for the house and then stashed them away. They married in 1996 and in 1997 had enough timber to build the house. They now have 4 children and their home is lovely. One large room which they eat, play and sleep and then a small kitchen and bathroom at the back. Their hammocks tuck out of the way during the day to open up the room and then at night they pull them down and the whole family sleeps in the same room. Makes you very conscious of the wastefulness that we have embraced so drastically.
And Spiders for Dessert!
We were all loving the evening and the conversation when Toll's wife (I feel so badly that I can't remember her name!), went off into the kitchen to prepare sweets. Toll disappears soon after and comes back with two tarantulas to show us. OMG I am so glad I didn't go to Cambodia about 5 years before this as my arachnophobia would have been too great for me to be in the same room as those crawlies, actually who am I kidding the same street would have been terrifying! I'd like to say I did a lot of work to get over my spider fear, but it was living in Cairns that cured me! Spiders are everywhere and BIG spiders so I had managed to calm it down to a “just as long as its not crawling on me” I'm fine kind of thing.
Everyone handled the spiders and some brave souls like Nick actually let them crawl over their heads.
When we were all firmly engaged in tarantula games, Toll's wife brought out dessert.
I've tried everything from roast guinea pig in Peru to fried crickets in Thailand, but I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to get a tarantula down. I did though and despite the horrible little hairs, they weren't terrible. I'm not going to say it tasted like chicken because lets face it they taste like fried spider!
Local meals are the BEST
Overall it was such a great evening. It proved:
- you don't have to have money to be rich
- you don't have to speak the same language to communicate
- there is a lot of truth in being content with what you have &
- that little hair in the back of your throat will eventually go away!
It would be really hard to be able to find an experience like this outside a group tour. We always do a tour when we take our nieces and nephews with us (Paige and Laura this time), primarily as it gives them access to people their own age, they get to know that they can just book a grass roots tour and rock up on their own and travel with like minded people, and Intrepid go places you could never find yourself. There is always some kind of local experience on their trips, which is often the result of getting to know the guides well. While we love traveling on our own, we have also had some of the best experiences ever while on a group tour. I often choose Intrepid Travel tours mostly because they have tours of different levels from budget to comfort and they beleive in sustainable tourism which is very important to me.
NB: I visited Cambodia in 2013, however due to a loss of hundreds of blog posts when moving web providers I'm just posting this again in 2020.
Some Intrepid Travel Cambodia Tours
Check out these TourRadar Tours of Cambodia that are under $1500 AUD. Up to 12 days in length these tours are from reputable operators like Intrepid Travel or G Adventures.