The last day in Cambodia, Fanny and I decide to go to the night market to experience the night life in Siem Reap. We jump into the tuk-tuk with our local guide, Mr. Huang, heading for our destination:Night Market!
We walk around the market, skim over the local shops: they have some traditional clothes, bags, and paintings here, I am not quite interested in those since I don’t like shopping that much, but some special pants on the racks draw my attention.
I beckon to the vendor and ask if I can try on. The peddler nods and gestures ardently to show me the way to wear the pants, I choose a pink one from the rack, let the peddler wrapping me with this weird Cambodian way of pants wearing. It’s like wrapping bath towel around my waist, but the material is linen one, then simply tie a knot around the waist and another knot in the crotch to make sure the paint won’t fall apart, it’s done of it.
I did buy the pink one and wear it the next day, the feeling is not so real at all, the wind blows into my thighs through the side of the paint, I feel I am wearing a paint-look bath towel walking on the road, soon after the end of the day I take off this pink towel, I throw it in the box and decide it’s not my style of wearing, let the pants sleep in the storeroom in my house.
On the skirts of the market, the commodities are not sold in the store, instead, vendors pile mountains of used socks, shoes, mostly clothes on the carpet, those are for the locals, they will stroll over the carpets, squatting at one of them, picking treasure from mountain of the old clothing.
(A fish massage shop.)
We find here in Cambodia, they also have the same balloon darts game as in other Asian countries, the way to play the game is quite simple, buy a bundle of ten or twenty darts, focus your eyes on a wall of balloons in front of you, look the balloons as the head of your foe, and pierce it.
Then you will be prized with different toys or something else according to the numbers of balloons you puncture. Oh!I love this game, especially the one with rotate round board, but not here in Angkor night market.
After some shopping and entertainment, it’s time for snacks. Huang recommends some must to eat in Cambodia to us, and we are amazed to taste so many snacks from those small vendors, it definitely wipe off the impression of stinking fish I have in Tonle Sap Lake.
Banana pancake mixed with milo: Very simple but sweet one, fried pancake with melted cream in it, adding sliced banana and milo sauce in it, you can’t resist the great lure from it after a little bit physical exertion of saunter.
A close look at the Banana pancake.
Fried noodle with pakchoi and eggs, the seasoning added renders more palatable to the noodles, yammy!
While we are regaling the delicious noodles, a pair in our group join us with a paper bag in their hand.
“Fried cicadas, my friends, we have a dozen of them, anyone wants?" The husband says.
“Oh, that’s see how luscious a cicadas could be." A brave man reaches his hands out and takes one toothpick out from the bag, the cicadas are speared on the toothpick like barbecued meat.
“Oh my goodness, that’s too much disgusting." The cicadas are creepy-crawly, thinking about swallowing them with those wings,legs, and eyes into my mouth makes me creep.
“Hey, youngster, you should try one." The husband passes me and fetches one toothpick, encouraging me(I feel he is forcing me), “Oh no…, I hate it so much…" I replied.
But everyone is watching me."Ok…, perhaps one bite." I reluctantly accept the cicadas.
Traveling makes people brave to experience new things, especially with insane companions, you may have to taste any odd things, I think eating bugs should be the one, and totally unforgettable.
Actually, I should have tried the fried bugs one year ago in my third visit to China, I saw scorpions lying on the barbecue rack when I walk in Wang Fu Jing- one of the big pedestrian zone in Beijing, my thought about eating bugs almost spurs me to open my mouth to ask the vendor for one, but soon retreat when I approach the vendor, it’s really hard pluck up yourself to ask for a bug and eat alone. So this time I have a good surrounding to eat the bugs, yap, so many crazy eyes cling on you, and so many mouthes are crunching cicadas, ugh~~~weird.
Well, it’s the moment I slowly take the cicadas up “Oh, it’s about to go into my mouth." I shut my eyes tight, trying to think something good in my life, hoping it can help me forget the incoming brown creature approaching my lips, but it doesn’t work at all. I am holding a big cicadas, trying to put it into my mouth, and actually I did!
I try to disintegrate the bugs into little bits from the first bite, and a familiar image flows into my mind, the Loin King scenery, little Simba is learning his way to eat grub and the song Hakuna Matata just dances with the image when Simba swallows the grub, slimy.
The taste of the cicada is crunchy, I can even feel the exoskeleton in my mouth, and the unbearable gut smell, after four more bites, I spit it out abhorred. I think I will never try any other bugs again in my life.
After the extraordinary bug tasting, we decide to get some bear to fresh our mouth, we walk into the supermarket, get some Angkor bear out of the fridge to the counter.
“The cashier is such a cute guy"I tell Fanny, his cordial smile is really delightful, he put his hands together in front of his chest like a prayer gesture and say “Chum Reap Suor", which means hello in Cambodia, this is the first time I see this traditional greeting here. Cambodia is mixed with local Buddhism and Hinduism, this way of greeting also appear in Thailand and other SE Asia countries, but with different languages saying hello.
The night market is adjacent to the pub street, we didn’t sit in any of the pub so that we can manage to get up early at 6:00 a.m. to fly back home. Below are some snapshots for the looks of the pub street: