The best weird foods and the ones you don’t know what they are until you eat them. Here’s how I tried grilled bee larvae with honeycomb.
Having sampled most of what Banlung had to offer we’d decided to head up to lake Leak Laom a volcanic lake. ‘‘Twas said it would greet us with beauty and street food vendors”
So, the lake itself was pretty enough without being much to write home about. The hawkers were mostly selling honey and Khmer beef jerky. I’ll blog about Cambodian jerky at some point, but I’m short it’s not good at all.
It looked like grilled honeycomb
Next to the honey sellers I noticed honeycomb out surrounded by flies as well as people grilling stuff that was being wrapped in banana leaves. No one spoke English so I decided to just steam in. The dish would cost 5000 Rial, 1.25 USD.
To read about my first Cambodian honeycomb experience click here.
What I received was a honeycomb type thing wrapped in a banana leaf. In some ways it looked almost like corn on the cob, with black bits in the comb.
I was eating baby bee!
I took a bite! I was expecting something very sweet, but it was more savoury with a sweet twang. The texture was that of a sponge with the juices hitting you on impact. I’ll have to be honest and say it initially tasted like vomit, but after a few bites it grew on me. I’ve heard it described as fatty honey and I’d have to agree.
What is Grilled bee larvae with honeycomb called in Khmer?
Grilled honeycomb with bee larvae or In khmer kon khmom =កូនឃ្មុំ! This is a popular snack in eastern Cambodia and indeed Laos too.
Insects, bugs and larvae might gross out westerners, but in the east it’s a tasty old snack! And of course a good source of protein!
Kun khmom =កូនឃ្មុំ
AKA honeycomb with beer larvae – not for the squeamish
For a few useful phrases in Khmer click here.
Baby bee take 2!
After initially trying “baby bee” as my Khmer friends were calling it I was really stuck in the middle abut what I thought about the dish. I was though up for trying it again. It reminded me a bit of Chamoyada which I had tried in Mexico. Essentially something I had initially thought I didn’t like, but it stayed in my mind and I wanted to give it another go.
Grilled bee larvae with honeycomb in Phnom Penh
It turns out that I had been quite lucky in Banlung and that this is not usually a cheap street food, but an expensive delicacy.
To read about street food in Ban Lung click here.
I had paid just a few bucks for it, but in Phnom Penh it can cost up to $50 for a kilo! Thankfully I did not require 1 kilo. But this meant still having to spend $5 for a small piece. But, when you and your friends grave baby bee what is there to do? Baby bee was duly procured and I was to get down to eating it (again).
How did Grilled bee larvae with honeycomb AKA Baby Bee taste on round 2?
I guess what it so much different second time around was that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into this time around. I was not expecting a sweet sensation, nor would I be surprised by the rather unique texture.
Some things, particularly on the weird food circuit are acquired tastes. Much like I grew to love balut, I really liked baby bee on round 2. It is a very weird taste still, but it subtly mixes sweet and savory together and creates something truly unique taste. I can genuinely understand why Khmer people start to crave it.
So, Grilled bee larvae with honeycomb! You have converted me. I have acquired a new acquired taste!