There are many exotic street food in Cambodia. I was told by my local guide that Cambodians eat almost everything except human.
I remember I had once watched Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” TV show and on the show he ate the fertilized duck egg which I find it a bit disgusting but at the same time I also felt like trying that out as well as if I have not tasted it and I might regret for my life.
Since then I have been searching around but I still haven’t found one until I was in Cambodia. That time I was actually planning to buy the normal roasted chicken egg (“Pong Muan Ang” in Cambodian) with pepper, salt and spices added into it before they were baked. However I realized the colour of the egg shells look whiter compared to the usual chicken eggs which are brown. I asked the egg-seller what were they and she answered me back in Cambodian which I didn’t even know what she was saying. She just showed me the Riel (Cambodian currency) to tell me how much per egg costs. I paid her exactly and she packed the egg with some herbs and a bag of pepper and salt.
The tragedy happened after I cracked the egg shell. The more the egg was revealed from its shell, the more I realized that it is not an ordinary egg. It was actually a fertilized duck egg and I was stunned there for a while on whether to continue eating it.
(Pong tea khon in Cambodian) which is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell.
Since I have accidentally bought this egg and it would be a waste if I have just thrown it away, I took up all my guts to eat the whole egg. Upon opening the egg he blood was already leaking out. I could see the blood veins of the duckie and some of the formed parts.
The blood kept dripping out after my first bite and I could see the soft bones and also the inner part. The taste is like eating duck and egg together with its intestines. The worst part is that I could feel the feather and its soft bones in my mouth!
The stall owner keep laughing at me. She must be thinking “you moron I have warned you that this is a fertilized egg and you still wanted to try and now you want to vomit, that serves you right.”
The exotic stuff that I tried is Fried Beetle or cockroach-alike (“Kan Te Long” in Cambodian). Not exactly sure what it’s called in English. If anyone of you know, please leave comments after this post. The owner sells them in a big tray for USD 2 per cup. Actually I just wanted to try a few only but the owner would not want to sell me less than that. After rounds of negotiation the least I could purchase was for 1/2 a cup and the price was at USD 1.
The full-view of beetle on my palm.
To eat this you need to do some cleaning instead of putting whole piece directly into your mouth. You need to pluck out the wings, the legs and also the head before eating.
Next, place it to your mouth and bite it. The taste of the beetle is like eating crunchy kit kat. Of course it is not as tasty as kit kat and you have to bear in mind that you will get to taste some part of the legs and intestines of the beetle. Honestly the taste wasn’t that bad and I quite enjoyed it but definitely not the oil they used to fry the beetle.
Next is BBQ snake. The stall is just around the conner infront of our hotel. However I did not try that as I have had enough exotic food for the day. I really hope that next time I can go with someone who is daring enough to try out the exotic food and share this snake with me.
After the BBQ snake, next in line are those street food which are more acceptable to all. If you see these ladies by the road side with a stall like this they are actually selling the Bamboo Rice (“Kalan” in Cambodian).
To eat this bamboo rice you need to peel off the skin (as shown below) and use the bamboo part of the skin as a spoon. The rice is cooked with red bean and coconut milk which was quite delicious. The bamboo stick rice come in different sizes. Larger “XL” size costs around 3000 riel (USD 0.75).
Next is the boiled chicken egg, just like our hard-boiled egg. This time no more “surprise” in the eggs. The picture below shows the lady selling the chicken eggs. There are 2 sections at the cart. The top ones are just being boiled and are piping hot while the lower ones are being cooled down.
The egg is very tasty in which they make a hole on top of the egg big enough to pour in salt, pepper and spices before bringing it to boil. I feel that it is way much tastier than scrambled eggs. Yum!
This one is a bit scary if you don’t know what they are hanging at the cart. The hanging “bracelet” is actually BBQ Chinese Beef Sausages.
They cut the sausages billet by billet from the hanging sausages and place 4 to 5 sausages to a stick to bbq them over the charcoal stove. The taste is very juicy and is an enjoyment for beef lovers.
This is a stall which sells Grilled Bananas (“Chek Aug” in Cambodian). You could find these stalls anywhere in town area.
I don’t recommend much for this grilled banana it tasted like unriped bananas which is sour and tongue-biting even they are grilled. I think they are using unriped bananas to cook. Still it didn’t fit into my tastebud.
If there is a chance for me to go Cambodia again, I will never try the fertilized duck egg again. However, I will still want to try out the BBQ snakes. Tasting Cambodian street food has really given me a different perspective to our street food in Penang.