Thursday, April 16, 2009
No, Eating A Spider Didn't Kill Us
But it felt like it might for a few hours. We pickied up this hairy bad boy at a roadside market/restaurant between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Our driver Som (a highlight of the trip in his own right) had been regaling us with stories of the foods (and lack thereof) of his childhood. He claimed spider was not only delicious, but medicinal as well. How so? He couldn't explain any more than "spider has something the body needs." Which was all the goading I needed. And Som wasn't lying. The spider was delicious, having been crispy-fried in a sweet, Teriyaki-like sauce. It's medicinal effects were noticeable as well, as both Andrea and I noticed mild-to-troubling neurological effects for the next several hours. And no wonder. Som said that he had been bitten by this particular species of spider as a young man, and had endured terrible sickness and pain as a result. An impressive achievement for the arachnid, considering Som had developed almost complete resistence to scorpion, millipede, wasp and other insect venom (possibly due to the fact that such insects made up a significant part of his diet for years during the Khmer Rouge-era famines). This particular fellow had had his fangs removed, insisted Som, meaning there was no poison in the tasty snack. Our upset stomaches, mild muscle spasms, headache and (in my cases) temporarily blurred vision begged to differ. Then again, to say that Som is made of sterner stuff than us is an understatement of truly epic proportions.