Fire ants are a very Cambodian delicacy, and rather interesting! Yes they eat a lot of bugs in Cambodia, but ants as food? I simply had to try it!
To read about snacks inspired by the Khmer Rouge click here
We’d began our day planning to drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, a theoretical 5 hour journey, and fairly cheap at between $50-60 (depending on your bargaining skills).
Rest stop to Siem Reap
About halfway through the journey, we stopped at Prey Pros River, a very scenic rest-stop, which it turned out served fairly good food.
We had standard stuff like fried spring rolls, spicy chicken, and some weird Cambodian rice-crispy type things, before trying the aforementioned Fire Ants. Fire Ants eat you alive in Cambodia, this was our chance to bite back!
Fire ants as food
Actually we’d eaten half the dish before realizing it was the fire ants, as it also came with beef and veggies. Amusingly we thought there were actual ants on our plate before realizing.
One of us said “hey there are ants on the plate”, before someone replied “I think that is what we ordered”. Oh the hilarity!
In fact you couldn’t really taste the ants, it was more like a spicy beef dish. In fact I honestly did not notice any flavour related to having ants as food. Apparently though and like everything a little bit weird they are “good for the man”. Again I cannot really comment on this. At least there was no affect on me.
What do ants taste like?
Again it is a question that I cannot really answer, but unlike other bugs they are more a ccompanyent to add flavour, rather than the flavour itself. At least that is how I have had it explained to me by Khmer friends.
We washed it with ABC Stout, which at 8% was exactly what the doctor ordered! And that is how you do fore ants as food, far from earth shattering, but achievement unlocked regardless.