Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Monday, 26th September 2016

Should you eat crab in Kep?

The town of Kep in Cambodia has been known for its local crab since French colonialists reigned over the province. It is so proud of the delicacy that there is a huge statue of the crustacean just offshore, but the question is whether it is still ethical to dine on crab in Kep.

Just as the French have departed from Kep, so has much of the crab population. Overfishing has led to stocks being seriously depleted and the industry has also damaged coastal habitats, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds.

This means that visitors to this corner of Cambodia should think carefully about what message it sends out to support the crab industry. After all, there are plenty of other seafood options that are sourced locally and are more sustainable.

Kep Crab Market

Like markets across Southeast Asia, Kep Crap Market is a fun and bustling place to visit and a sure-bet for getting a great meal at a low price. Luckily, this cluster of wooden shacks serves more than just crab, so you can opt for another type of seafood without missing out on the experience.

Overlooking the water’s edge, it’s also a fantastic place to watch the sunset. So choose a spot, indulge in a few sundowners and browse the menu for what you’d like to eat. All of the seafood is freshly caught, but there’s also plenty of Khmer dishes and even the off western option if you don’t want to have fish.

Alternatives to crab

So, what should you look out for on the menus around Kep that make a good alternative to crab? From the sea, there is snappa, goldband, tuna, squid and prawns. While from the river, barramundi and gurami are more sustainable options.

Boat trips

Watching the fisherman bring the catch in is a nice way to pass a few hours in Kep, but it can also be good to get out into the Gulf of Thailand yourself. You can arrange to join a fishing expedition or a leisure trip. There are options to find out more about marine conservation in the area or visit some of the stunning islands that are close by.

Related news stories:
A guide to the etiquette of Vietnam (27th May 2015)
Understanding religious practices in Cambodia (9th July 2014)
What to know before you go to Laos (23rd April 2015)
Eat your way through Luang Prabang?s night market (26th May 2016)
How to live like a local in Laos (28th January 2016)