Not as bad as you think. I’m the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of spiders. I like them about as much as I like my toes. I’m happy so long as I can see them. I made the bold decision to handle a live one (spider that is) at the Friends Restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. If you order a dish of deep-fried tarantula there you get a bonus live one to play with. Neat, I thought, it’ll come out in a little cage and I can feed it some crickets. Oh how wrong I was. The first moment I even knew there was a spider in the room was as it was being put on my head by one of the staff. Not o.k. Luckily the spiders served at Friends are vegetarian and are harmless to humans. Despite the fact a tarantula makes a pretty gnarly accessory, I’m not going to go trading my dora the explorer scrunchie for one anytime soon.
‘What do they taste like?’ I hear you ask. How do I say this without being unoriginal? It tastes exactly like a mushroom, if a mushroom tasted like chicken. Friends serve their tarantulas with a zesty sauce that is actually quite delicious. Give yourself some time to finish it though, the body is extremely chewy and takes some concentration and perseverance to swallow.
Find out more about the weird and wonderful delicacies served at Friends, as well as the awesome work they do with street kids here: http://www.tree-alliance.org/our-restaurants/friends.asp