One of the top things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia is to eat insects at the Bugs Cafe. Once you’re done with wandering around the majestic temples of Angkor Wat, head not far from Pub Street and you’ll come across the Bugs Cafe.
There’s plenty of Siem Reap restaurants serving up amazing Khmer cuisine, but the Bugs Cafe is very different because it specialises in….. insects.
Apparently Cambodian people are quite into eating insects – it’s a sad remnant of the days of the Khmer Rouge regime when food was scarce and they ate whatever they could to survive. Here’s our guide to eating out at the Bugs Cafe.
What is the Bugs Cafe?
So a French restauranteur has teamed up with an ex-Sofitel chef and they’ve created a menu full of bugs and insects for you to try at their innovative Siem Reap restaurant.
We were comprehensively run through the menu and assured that we wouldn’t taste anything slimy, slippery or gross, and that all the poisonous bits had been removed from the tarantula and scorpions (!) This is important to note as some of the versions sold out on the street may not be so thoroughly prepared.
Here’s some of the unique offerings at the Bugs Cafe:
- “Bug Mac” – burger with insect steak, sweet potato fries, homemade bread
- “Savoury cupcakes” – olive and parmesan cupcakes garnished with crickets and silkworms
- “Tarantula donuts” – whole marinated tarantulas coated in tempura and deep fried
- “Pan fried scorpions” – marinated scorpions with garlic, parsley and cashew nuts
You get the idea!
What we ordered
We decided to go with the Discovery Platter, which is essentially insect tapas to give you a little taste of most of the different insects. This consisted of:
- 2 wild spring rolls with ants
- 1 insect skewer
- 1 Mediterranean feuilletes with red ants (the fire ant ones)
- 1 feta and tarantula samosa
- 1 crickets and silkworm wok (basically a stir fry)
And here’s what came out:
We decided to try the ant feuilletes first, as no-one wanted to hoe into that tarantula straight off the bat. Here’s Soph about to take her first bite:
It was surprisingly good. You couldn’t taste the ants and it had a delicious pesto sauce with it. The kids did complain…about the grated carrot in it!!
Next up was one of the crickets from the skewer. Mmm quite crunchy, but ok.
We gradually worked our way through the platter, and nothing was too fearsome. We couldn’t actually taste the tarantula in the samosa as the feta and spinach disguised it.
Finally though, there was no getting away from it and the tarantula and a giant looking water bug type thing were left, we were advised to suck the insides out of that one, the closest it got to being a bit yuck. It tasted like pork a bit.
The tarantula was probably our least favourite, and probably because it was psychologically the hardest to get our heads around. Here is a video of brave girl Sophie giving it a go.
We decided to skip the cricket cheesecake and insect fondue that was on offer for dessert, as we’d had quite enough bug action for one night.
The verdict all round was that it was actually not so bad – in fact the non-insect flavours themselves were delicious and it was extremely well done. If you’re looking where to eat in Siem Reap that’s a bit different than definitely give it a go – it was fun to try if you didn’t think too much about what you were eating.
Would we go back again? Probably not, but it’s certainly a meal that we’ll remember for a long time to come!
Check directions on the Bugs Cafe website
Phone: (+855)17 764 560
Looking for more things to do or the best places to stay in Cambodia? Check out our top tips for family travel in Cambodia.