Cambodia's Tarantula Doughnuts Are Elevated Tapas For Thrill Seekers

Times are definitely changing. If anyone ever asked you what the future of food would look like, you probably would've never said we'll start cooking with bugs and insects. Yet, here we are. Statista reports that "the global market value of edible insects is expected to grow from about 406 million U.S. dollars in 2018 to over 1.18 billion U.S. dollars by 2023." 

Who'd expect that? Even though we're not used to eating bugs and insects, many people in different parts of the world are used to them because they have a high protein content and a "low carbon footprint." So it's not without good reason that the folks over at The Guardian say, "If we want to save the planet, the future of food is insects." Yes, bugs and insects are on a sharp rise in the world of food, and in some countries, they've been enjoyed for a long time. In Mexico's Oaxaca, apart from the tasty Oaxaca cheese, you can also indulge in tacos with deep-fried grasshoppers called chapulines (via Atlas Obscura). 

In Santander, Colombia, there's a specialty dish of fried or roasted big-bottomed ants called hormigas culonas (per Eat Your World). But there are even more tasty snacks other than bugs and insects. For example, in Cambodia, you can try an unusual arachnid snack that's served as a tapa.

Tarantulas are dipped in tempura, deep-fried, and served with sauces and chutneys

Who says that insects, bugs, and spiders are reserved for street food only? Food & Wine reports that there are now upscale restaurant versions of these street snacks popping up all over the world. For example, you can try black ant guacamole in New York City's The Black Ant. In René Redzepi's Noma in Mexico, queen ant egg tostada awaits the daring gourmets, and in Cambodia, you can have bug tapas in the appropriately-named Bugs Cafe. Located in Siem Reap, Bugs Cafe serves a variety of unique tapas, such as green papaya salad enriched with grilled scorpions, spring rolls packed with ants, and tarantula donuts. 

The spiders are first dipped in tempura, fried in hot oil, and then served to curious patrons with accompaniments such as mango chutney, mayonnaise, and sweet chili sauce on the side. This crunchy tapa is elevated to gourmet status, and if you're a thrill seeker, what more could you ask for? For those who want a more toned-down experience, there's no need to worry, as tarantula snacks can easily be found on Cambodian streets and near the roads throughout the region (via DifferentVille).