Unable to find a job after being injured by a bullet as a soldier who once fought the Khmer Rouge, Mr. Jen Wai returned to the forest looking for food. Using a technique he learned from his father when he was a young boy, Wai started hunting for scorpions and tarantulas (a great source of protein) for his family.
He started making a modest living by catching these terrifying (I can only speak for myself;) creatures and selling them to members of his community and, as of a few years ago, to Bugs Cafe - a charming restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which led me onto Mr. Wai's heart-pounding trail...
NOTE: Dear friends, I apologize in advance - scorpions and tarantulas do get caught, killed and eaten in this story, but this is about a man's story, his will to care for his family, and a certain type of courage that I for one - do not have a fraction of when it comes to the job that he does. Here's a glimpse at Mr. Wai's life.
ALSO: If you'd like to learn more about the bug/insect diet/menu - here's a little snippet from my chat with Bugs Cafe owner, and friend, Davy Blouzard:
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO: The Wai Family (for sharing your story with me), Davy Bouzard & Chef Sheiha Soeun (for the introductions and fieldwork translation), and Kai Yekly (for post-production translation). None of my stories would be possible without people like you - so again, a heartfelt THANK YOU!
MUSIC: "Trod Along" by Blue Dot Sessions (courtesy of Creative Commons)