Eating in Cambodia – A Heineken Dropped Survival Guide

he Heineken Dropped campaign has focused on sending people just like you to places they’d never consider visiting in a million years. With any adventure, the strength of your campaign depends on the strength of your belly. We recently dropped one Heineken drinker in the middle of Cambodia. If you ever find yourself in this exotic and mysterious nation, here’s a guide to all the strange food items you’ll discover.

Coconut Pudding

We love sprinklings of coconut in our food. It adds a nice watery taste to whatever we happen to be snacking on at the time. The Cambodians took it one step further. They extract the meat from the coconut and ground it up to create a thick white paste. It’s served in the shell of the coconut itself.

Monkey Brains

A local delicacy is the brain of a monkey. The extraction process is quite fascinating. They literally crack open the skull of the monkey to get at the delicious display of grey matter within. It’s quite an expensive delicacy. After all, you can only have one brain per monkey. It’s served as the main meat in a standard dish.

Animal Stomachs

Cambodians use every part of the animal in their meals. It’s unsurprising since they believe in doing the right thing and not being wasteful, in accordance with their Theravada Buddhist beliefs.

Animal stomachs are washed and cured to make sure there’s nothing lingering inside them. These stomachs can be filled with vegetables or whatever else you want to try them with later. The taste of the stomach usually depends on the animal and what it ate. Tastes linger in the stomach long after death.

The Mekong River

The Mekong River deserves a section all to itself. It’s like the Vistula River in Poland. It’s such an important waterway for the country. And the chances are if you saw something in the Mekong River it’s on the menu. Local fishermen are free to fish the river for whatever’s in it.

On any given day you can find colourful prawns and basa in the markets. Different market days in the capital of Phnom Penh will reveal alternate seafood.

Deep Fried Tarantulas

Deep fried tarantula might seem disgusting to people from the UK. On the other hand, to Cambodians it’s like candy. Rip off a leg and munch on it as you travel around the country. They’re very cheap and you can buy them in bulk bags if you get acquainted with the taste.

Its rumoured Cambodia took a liking to spiders during the days of Khmer Rouge rule. The food situation was so poor many of the citizens were forced to eat spiders just to stay alive. After the fall of Pol Pot and his regime, they discovered they really liked them, and so they stayed on the menu.

On a side note, if animal welfare is your concern, this isn’t the place to be. There are skinned frogs still jumping around, the heads of pigs, and bound chickens on the menu. You’ll need a strong stomach if you decide to take on the Heineken Dropped campaign!