Romdeng, Phnom Penh (Let’s eat bugs!) – Food Review

When it comes to food, apart from actual allergies that I won’t try, something that is quite foreign to Westerners but actually quite a normal part of the South East Asia diet is eating insects and tarantulas (more scientifically known as Entomophagy) – and one of the best restaurants in Phnom Penh to try such cuisine is Romdeng.

Before booking, I wasn’t sure whether Ms. Buddha will be opened to trying, but after hearing her “why not” – I made sure we booked this place, a fortunate thing in hindsight because it was crowded when we arrived – the place itself had a wonderful traditional decor with a hip spin to it with the artworks.

Staff were friendly in welcoming us (similar to the rest of Cambodia) – and we were presented with a fairly simple menu to inspect – in the end, we went for the Tarantulas, Khmer Platter and the Fish Amok.

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We also ordered ourselves a couple of really nice cocktails

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Tarantulas

For those who have not eaten bugs before, my advice to anyone trying is that as long as you can get over the look of the food, you’re 90% home, because once you’ve tasted the food, you’ll wonder why we don’t have it more often. The dish at Romdeng was made with a Pepper and Lime sauce, and because of the natural structure of a tarantula, it taste very close to a very nicely done soft shell crab – with slightly more creaminess.

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Tarantula with Pepper and Lime sauce

Khmer Platter

The platter available had a mixture of meats, with buffalo, crickets and silk worms – the buffalo jerky was excellent although I would’ve preferred a bit more spiciness to it. The silk worms and crickets were mixed together in the banana leaf and because of the natural diet of bugs, they then to have a more vegetarian taste to it – I preferred the silk worms over the crickets mainly because they ended up like popcorns!

Fish Amok

The Amok is a traditional dish in Cambodia and essentially, you’re steam cooking a curry in banana leaves. The cooking process creates a more frothy curry paste that is best mixed with rice – the version that Romdeng had was excellent, especially the quality of the fish – although taste wise, I would’ve preferred it just that tiny bit less salty.

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Fish Amok

With our bellies filled, Ms. Buddha was craving for a bit of sweets, so we decide to order a sorbet, which was a perfect compliment to the food we just had.

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Oh, and don’t forget our little friend who watched me as I paid!

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