A Truck Stop in the Middle of Cambodia Revisited

Why did I get into food in the first place?  That’s easy.  Because I love to eat.  It’s that simple.  But the other question people always want to ask me is “Why did you want to become a chef?” To me that answer was just as simple–I believed that being a chef would allow me to eat and drink my way around the globe and meet some amazing people at the same time.

Which brings me to our trip to Cambodia in December and January of 2010-2011.  My wife, Laura, and I …wait a second…I must digress.  She is my best friend, loving wife and culinary soul mate.  She is also a chef.  No shit, of course she is.  And get this, she is a better chef than I am in so many ways, it’s crazy.  But the most important part of this digression is that she loves food as much as I do.

Anyway, back to the story.  It makes me smile every time I see these pictures.  Why you might ask.  I’m not an adrelaline junkie, so I am never ever going to jump out of a plane.  This is the closest thing for me to livin’ on the edge.  Eating some crazy ass chili garlic fried GIANT SPIDER.

We were taking a bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to see the truly amazing must see before you die ruins known as Angkor Wat.  We stopped for a quick break and the second the doors of the bus open, we were greeted by 3 really cute girls that looked maybe 11 years old but were in fact 16.  “Hello mister, you so beautiful, you like we show you around?” Come on how could I refuse an outdoor food market in the middle of nowhere.  The girl’s name was Winnie and man was she fantastic guide.  The first thing I remember is her showing me a huge platter of these chili garlic fried giant spiders.  Pretty cool, but then she has the old lady lift the platter to show a freakin’ ass bucket full of LIVE river tarantulas to show that they were indeed very fresh.

Come on!  I just have to try one, it was only the equivelent of 40 cents after all.  So the first bite was pretty damn good.  Kind of like slightly crispy beef jerky.  But the real shitter (if you know what I mean!) was the body, because it was full of eggs, little tiny bitter crunchy explosions in my mouth. Pretty gnarly, but one hell of a great food experience.  Talk about feeling alive! Thanks Winnie!!!

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Drum Roll Please…Yes I am a Finalist on Food Network Star 8!!!

This is HUGE.  This has been my dream for years, and last July, Laura and I flew to Las Vegas to tryout for the show.  It has been a whirlwind the past 8 months as I had to fly back to New York numerous times for the initial selection, then filming and post production work.

I’ll be telling a LOT more about my experiences on the show as time goes on, BUT right now please just check out the Food Network site.  AND vote for me.  The fan vote is incredibly important, so bookmark the page and vote for me up to 10 times per day.  Thanks a lot, and get ready to join me for the ride of a lifetime.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/eric-lee/index.html

Cheers!

Eric