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Sampling Ant Larvae and Miniature Bananas in Siem Reap

By Susan Hack - 2013-04-16T12:52:24Z

Photograph by Susan Hack

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Weaver Ants

I'm a big fan of eating local. Bunchay Chem, my guide, was kind enough to whip up a homemade batch of fresh-caught weaver ants and their larvae chopped and ground up with roast chicken, garlic, fish sauce, chili, and basil. Bunchay showed me how to make a weaver ant wrap with a walnut sized clump of tapenade, a few green beans, and the leaves of an anis-flavored herb, all rolled up in a cabbage leaf. Tiny, shiny pieces of adult ant heads added a crunchy texture and sharp, slightly bitter, intense black pepper flavor, while the larvae provided a sweet note akin to tamarind. I loved it (especially since it did not look anything like ants)! Plus it was healthy—protein-rich but carb- and gluten-free.

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