Vietnamese cuisine is diverse, profuse, and owns an undeniable charisma to international tourists. Coconut worms - a specialty in your Mekong Delta tour - are worth giving a go for their rich nutrition and delicious taste. Imagine yourself putting a wriggling worm in your mouth and chewing it alive. What an unforgettable challenge to put on your Vietnam bucket list!
Coconut worm (Duong Dua in Vietnamese) is a kind of snout beetle at its larvae phase. It is considered a harmful pest as it hollows out coconut’s trunk tree and lays eggs inside, then the eggs are hatched into larvae and feed on the tree's nutrition.
For provinces in the Mekong Delta that boast vast forests of coconut trees like Ben Tre, the people eventually get creative with the harmful pests and turn them into intimidating yet appetizing dishes. If you're planning to challenge yourself on a food tour in Vietnam, then don't miss this extreme food.
Because coconut worms do great harm to coconut trees and can only be harvested when cutting down a whole tree, the local authorities have prohibited the breeding of coconut worms for food due to concerns that overproducing of the worms will cause harm to the local agriculture scene. Nevertheless, tourists are still able to try this delicacy. In case a live, wiggling worm freaks you out, there is still a myriad of dishes of cooked coconut worms for you to try.
Challenge yourself with crawling coconut worms
This is the easy-processing and also the most common dish with coconut worms. Firstly, living worms are dipped into alcohol to get rid of the contaminants. Then they are cleaned before going straight into Vietnamese fish sauce. Some may say it has a fatty texture and tastes like the combination of cheese and egg yolk, but you have to get over your fear to try first.
Crunchy and fatty deep-fried Coconut Worms
Coconut worms are mixed with a compound of egg yolk, wheat flour, salt and are usually eaten with Vietnamese herbs.
Grilled Coconut Worms
Coconut worms are pierced altogether with a stick and put on the griller. More than often, the dish is usually served with other condiments and herbs.
Since coconut worms are a specialty in Mekong Delta, particularly Ben Tre Province, you can find this delicacy at almost every restaurant. Besides, many restaurants in Ho Chi Minh also serve coconuts worms for curious international visitors.
Read more on Where to Eat Insects in Ho Chi Minh.
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Since the authorities prohibit the breeding and selling of coconut worms, you’ll be less likely to find information or advertisements about specific places to try the dish. In case you genuinely want to try this bizarre specialty, have an experienced tour guide to show you the right restaurants and street vendors with hygienic coconut worm dishes together at a reasonable price.
For more Extreme Food to Explore in Vietnam, check out our travel guides!
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© Written by Thuy Lien for itourvn.com
I tried this worm live and it was very gooey. You cannot eat the head, though. Overall, it was good to try but not sure if I would eat it again.