Some cultures eat insects as a regular part of their diet while some other cultures avoid insects and even get upset when they are accidentally in their food. Vietnam is one of the countries where bugs aren’t a big deal. One of their foods, considered a delicacy, is coconut worms.
They can be eaten in a variety of ways, from still-alive to deep-fried. If you want to try them for yourself, consider trying out these 6 ways to eat coconut worms as well as what they taste like and where they live.
Coconut Worms Introduction
Coconut worms are also known as duong dua in Vietnam. They are common grub-like insects that can be found within coconut trees in Vietnam. They are actually a species known as coconut weevils but are called coconut worms while they are in their larval stage.
The practice of eating them likely came from the fact that they are considered pests.
They can hollow out coconut trees while they live in them, which can reduce production or even kill the tree. To harvest them, one has to look for sunken or injured coconut trees and cut them down.
Because of their potential danger to coconut yields, and the fact that the tree has to be cut down to harvest them, it is illegal to breed these coconut worms specifically. Instead, they must be searched for and harvested to try and cull the already present population.
Instead of just killing these grubs, the Vietnamese people have decided to incorporate them into their diet. Coconut worms have a large amount of protein due to their consumption of coconut trees so they provide a lot of nutrients.
They are also low in fat and calories, which makes them the perfect snack for anyone looking to lose weight. Speaking of nutrients, they have minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, and fatty acids.
Those that eat them regularly say they are pretty sweet and soft in texture and have a mild flavor. There are several different ways you can eat them.
6 Common Ways to Eat Coconut Worms
1. While Still Alive
One of the most common ways to eat coconut worms is to just eat them while they are still alive. They are simply dunked into fish sauce and eaten. It’s often a dish translated to “coconut worms swimming in the river” because they simply place the worms into a spicy fish sauce and eat them.
Many tourists aren’t willing to try the dish due to the insects still moving, but it is a popular way to eat them. Many people that do brave it say that the worms taste like egg yolks or cheese with a hint of a sweet taste.
To eat them this way, you just put the coconut worms in the spicy fish sauce and just pick them up and chew them.
Everything tastes better deep-fried, including coconut worms. The worms are mixed with egg yolks, flour, and salt and then fried in oil. This creates a crispy and hollow texture and makes the flavor even milder.
If you want, you can add some spices to the frying batter, but most people tend to just use the worms in dishes with other herbs instead. For example, they are often put on the tops of salads, especially those made from coconut buds, to add a bit of a crunch.
You can also just eat them alongside raw vegetables to cut the fat from the insect.
To grill coconut worms, you stab them all through on a skewer and place them on a grill. Then, when they are fully cooked, you can coat them with spices and herbs before serving.
You can also roll them up after they are grilled with fresh vegetables and herbs. Some common rolls include lettuce, tomato, and basil. Then dip it into a tamarind fish sauce and serve.
They can also be served as a snack to go alongside drinking, as many cultures do with peanuts. They can add a salty, fatty taste that compliments the beer.
Coconut worms can also be steamed alongside sticky rice. Both the rice and the worms can be placed in the same container and cooked at the same time. Then you can add fish sauce and chicken as well as some vegetables to make a whole meal.
Coconut worms also taste delicious when mixed with the coconuts they eat, since they have complementary flavors, you can boil the weevil larvae in coconut water to get a fatty flavor and a lovely smell.
Once they are cooked, they can be wrapped into rice paper to create rolls alongside herbs and dipped into a sauce. For this dish, a sauce made with fish sauce, lemongrass, and chili is ideal.
6. Salted and Roasted
If you just want a simple dish to serve as a compliment to rice, consider a simple roasting. This is how many families make the worms at home, as it is easy and flavorful. It also acts as a great topping for a bowl of rice.
To enjoy, you just need a little salt, sugar, and seasonings to your taste. Then, you will place them in a saucepan and cook until they are the desired texture. If you’ve had silkworm pupae, they have a similar cooking style.