Bug Cafe – Cambodians had been on insects long before our scientists began nagging us of their value. Natives in Cambodia have already been consuming tarantulas as a traditional dish for years. This kind of dish developed from the survival period of the Khmer Rouge and the novel experiences for visitors. There is a variety of dishes like a real feast of aquatic bugs, crickets, mice, silkworms, and perhaps tarantula doughnuts, frogs, or pan-fried scorpions. A French immigrant and a Khmer cook founded the Bugs Cafe. Hence, this is a combination of both the traditional Cambodian culture and the surge of hospitality from millions exploring the famed Angkor Wat ruins.
You might want to know this: Top 10 Best Restaurants In Siem Reap You Must Try
Story Behind the Bugs café
Bugs Cafe was founded in a neighboring Siem Reap hotel when the co-owner Marjolaine Blouzard operated there. The patrons of the hotel kept asking her for recommendations of a restaurant in which they could try eating bugs, common in Cambodian cuisine. There have been no restaurants that would care for this kind of use at that moment. Cambodians prefer to cook as well as eat insects at the house, rather than in restaurants. While there is a variety of vendors on the night market selling fried larvae, the visitors’ preferred something more contemporary: insects in a dish, not a greasy snack on the outskirts of the city.
Marjolaine and her cousin named David Blouzard joined forces and set out around Cambodia, searching for vendors and flavors they’d like to integrate into their restaurant. In July 2014, Marjolaine and David met a local Khmer chef, Seiha Soeun, who also was interested in cooking for just the restaurant, and they opened the Bug Café.
The Interesting Menu at the Bug Café
The menu’s flavors represent the specific co-owners’ ethnic groups, one from France and the other from Cambodia itself. You may purchase Cambodia’s special spring rolls filled with ants and includes them in a pastry puff roll named Mediterranean Feuillete. It provides the opportunity to try insects in such a popular and western manner if the customer chooses or tries to go for more conventional Khmer flavors.
David takes pride in his Bug Mac that took great efforts to get the proportions correct. This is a bug-patty with the same quality as that of a burger. The tight-fried tarantulas are his favorite thing to eat, however. He roams around telling them that the tarantulas’ taste as lobster or crab when he welcomes his visitors to their meals. His top recommendation to hesitant backpacker tables is the discovery tray, which features a wide range of insect appetizers for sampling groups.
Here are some of the items you can find on their menu:
They serve Bee Larvae with Sweet Potatoes Cream which is a soup made of creamy as well as sweet potatoes with bee larvae, curry, and coconut milk. Then there is Tarantula and Feta Samosas in which Samosas contains parsley, cheese, spinach, garlic, and marinated spiders.
Also, they serve Bug Mac which is David’s favorite and this is a burger with insects, cheese and potato fries. They have tarantula donuts in which marinated tarantulas complement with mango chutney, homemade mayonnaise, and chili sauce with sweet texture. Moreover, you can have pan-fried and marinated scorpions that are panned with both cashew nuts, parmesan cheese, and herbs.
Bugs Cafe situates right in Siem Reap city center. You can reach this place on foot or by taxi or by Tuk Tuk. Nearly all local restaurants accept both Khmer Riel and the US Dollar, so no more worries! Its menu items vary including $3 spring rolls as well as a $27 bug platter.
If you don’t think this is for you, click Top 10 Khmer Traditional Restaurant In Siem Reap
Source of the Ingredients at Bug Café
Both insects and non-insect arthropods at Bugs Cafe, mostly scorpions and tarantulas, come from rural farmers who capture the arthropods themselves in the rice paddies or even in the woods surrounding them. Those are the creatures that they often cook at home. When clueless somebody questions about ant eggs, David claims it’s such a dish that farmers don’t market but consume anyway. Due to the seasonal fluctuations of the species, the restaurant can’t serve those bugs during off-season times. Hence, if you want to taste those items, make sure you visit the café during the right season.
Reasons Behind the Popularity of Bugs Café
Bugs Cafe has primarily commercialized online by ratings. How did the restaurant become so popular? This restaurant feels very real, as David states out, with all the decoration in Western-style it seems very contemporary. To give a good first impression, David often chats with potential customers who are scrolling through the options on the podium outside the restaurant. Moreover, he has a hands-on game that is fun and engaging but not overprotective.
Ultimately, Siem Reap seems to have a lot of fine, regular cuisine; not every meal has insects in them. You may take a questionnaire on the site when you visit that will check your awareness of edible insects. Also, if you are an adventurer, Bugs Café is the place to discover a whole new, cost-effective cuisine. Fun facts: about 1,900 types of insects are edible and globally, 2 billion people regularly eat insects.