Think of a bug! Then eat it!
Beetle, weevils, cricket, praying mantis, dragonfly, grasshopper, cockroaches - they are fair game among Khmers! After all, these bugs have exoskeleton that could be crunchy, nutritious and tasty after a bit of oil, garlic, onion, pepper. On a bus ride midway between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at a place called Kampong Thom, the birth place of Khmer Rouge war criminal Pol Pot, our bus stops at a countryside market.
This was being sold by the side walk. Care for a plate? Vinegar or soy maybe? A deep fried arthropod-eating enthusiast shared with The Cambodian Daily, "It's a bit salty, sugary and sweet." Since forty percent of Khmer children under 5 years have stunted growth, and 11 % are "acutely wasted", this new-age source of nutrients is being looked into. Isn't that alarming? These edible insects are cheaper than chicken or beef, but they are believed to be ideal supplement to ensure a more balanced diet. They can provide nutrients. Somehow, it makes you wonder if Pol Pot actually ate the "wrong kind" of bugs that drove him to lunacy. So mad that he almost killed majority of the Khmer population during his reign of terror.
At the market stalls, I clicked away not even giving the idea much consideration. Personally, I'd gladly do away with those nutrients if they come from crawling, slithering creatures. It's like reading about how "urine" can prevent cataract from some medicine shaman from an ethnic tribe. Baloney, really. Would you rather have a stench-heavy pair of eyes?
This is the Eye in the Sky!