Worms, duc dude, or ដុកឌឿ !
So if thrown down the gauntlet and said that I wanted to get weird beard with some local Khmer specialties, and the challenge was duly accepted! The next thing I know I’m presented with a bowl full of bugs.
I asked our local culinary guide to explain what they were and could only have it explained that “we have a lot of varieties of this” and it’s a “worm”, or ដុកឌឿ.
Google translate didn’t do much more to explain, but I was given the English translation of “doc dude”. I immediately dove straight in (obviously).
I’ll get into how a bowl of worms tastes later, but apparently it’s prepared by frying some garlic and spring onions, before adding the worms and shallow firing it in a wok. This bowl, which is pretty damned big will set you back 5000 rials, or about $1.25. Is that expensive for bugs? Apparently they have them in Korea too, or at least that’s what I was told.
I’d gotten my bugs via takeaway, but they’re designed as street food, and you’ll see people in Siem Reap enjoying worms with beer. Definitely not against this as a concept.
It’s really hard to explain how they taste unless you’ve eaten bugs, I mean they taste like bugs, but I’ll try and give a bit better explanation. They’re heavily flavoured by the onions, with a tint of the pepper present (it’s not too spicy). The worms aren’t mushy, but soft without melting in your mouth. The initial taste is quite light, but with a heavy gamey, bug aftertaste. It’s weird, but also weirdly moorish as well.
I wouldn’t say I’m now a convert, but should I end up out with Khmer friends drinking some Angkor Beer and out come the bugs, I’ll be able to represent…..