SKUON,KAMPONG CHAM PROVINCE
Cambodia's third largest, err, city, is but two hours or so from
Phnom Penh by bus or share taxi on one of Cambodia's best highways.
I've never spent the night in Kompong Cham so I can't comment
on the hotels, but I did see most of what's worth seeing.
The main attraction, other than the Mekong and
its peaceful banks, is Wat Nokor which is a curious combination
of an 11th century temple and a modern pagoda. An interesting
legend surrounds this structure and you can read about it here.
A few kilometers further east are Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei, two
hilltop pagodas with their own unique legend. The Khmer Rouge
made a mess of things here and between the two hills lies one
more of Cambodia's many killing fields. In this case it's nothing
more than a cement shed and a pile of bones. Further away from
the town sit several more temples and a rubber plantation which
I have not visited.
The other area attraction is Koh Paen, an island
in the Mekong. I haven't visited it, but people who have seem
to enjoy the glimpse into rural Cham life.
seemingly limited number of attractions, I think sparing a day
or even a day and a night in Kompong Cham would be a good addition
to a Cambodia holiday.
fried spider is a regional delicacy of Cambodia. In the small
Cambodian town of Skuon in Kampong Cham Province , locals eat
fried spiders as an everyday staple. Spiders are also available
elsewhere in Cambodia — in Phnom Penh for instance — but the village
of Skuon, a stopover on the road 90 kilometres north of the capital,
is the centre of their popularity. The spiders are bred in holes
in the ground in villages north of Skuon, or foraged for in nearby
forestland, and fried in oil. It is not clear how this practice
started, but some have suggested that the population might have
started eating spiders out of desperation during the years of
Khmer Rouge rule, when food was in short supply.
spiders are a species of tarantula called "a-ping" in
Khmer, and are about the size of a human palm.The snacks cost
about 300 riel each in 2002, or about US$0.08.One travel book
identifies them as Haplopelma albostriatum, also known as the
Thai zebra tarantula, and notes that the same species' common
name has been the "edible spider" for more than a hundred
years. The popularity of the dish is, however, a recent phenomenon,
starting perhaps as late as the 1990s.The same book details a
recipe: the spiders are tossed in a mixture of MSG, sugar, and
salt; crushed garlic is fried in oil until fragrant, then the
spiders are added and fried alongside the garlic until "the
legs are almost completely stiff, by which time the contents of
the abdomen are not so runny.
taste is mostly described as bland, with a textural contrast between
a crispy exterior and soft centre. The legs contain little flesh,
while the head and body have "a delicate white meat inside".The
abdomen, however, many find not as pleasant: inside is a brown
paste consisting perhaps of organs, eggs, or excrement. Some call
it a delicacy while others recommend not eating it.