In Vietnamese cuisine, Coconut worm is a type of snout beetle at its larvae stage. Also known as Duong Dua in Vietnamese, a coconut worm is light yellow in colour, generally sweet in taste, and about 3-5 cm long in size. Usually eaten live, a single coconut worm is sold at around 25,000 Vietnamese dong (US$1) in Vietnam. Duong Dua is certainly one of the strangest delicacies in the world.
Coconut Worms are considered to be a pest as they live inside a coconut tree trunk causing it to hollow out. The worm lays its eggs inside of the hollowed trunk and as soon as the eggs start to hatch into larvae, they start to live off the tree’s nutrition and the cycle continues, causing severe damage to the trees. This is the reason why coconut worms contain a significant quantity of nutrients (especially proteins) in them.
Coconut worms can only be found by looking for coconut trees which have collapsed and shrunken leaves on the top. Provinces in the Mekong Delta are known to have huge forests that contain coconut trees like Ben Tre. A lot of coconut worms can be found feeding on these trees.
The local authorities have, however, banned the breeding of coconut worms on the coconut trees. It is because these worms cause great damage to the trees and in order to harvest them that one needs to cut down the entire tree.
The local agricultural scene would face great harm if the worms were to overproduce. So to prohibit the overproduction of coconut worms, their breeding has been forbidden.
How are Coconut Worms Eaten
As mentioned, coconut worms are generally eaten live. However, there are other types of preparation that involve cooking them. Some prefer it boiled, while some prefer it fried or grilled.
Grilled coconut worms
Using a stick, pierce the worms altogether and then place them on a griller. Once the worms are properly grilled, it is recommended to serve them with different varieties of Vietnamese spices and herbs.
Deep-fried coconut worms
For this recipe, take a medium-sized bowl and add the worms in it. Now, add egg yolk, pinch of salt and wheat flour. Mix properly and in batches, deep fry them. It is generally recommended to serve this dish with Vietnamese herbs.
Live coconut worms with fish sauce
This is the most common recipe that is followed to prepare coconut worms. The first step is to immerse the living worms in a bowl of alcohol. This step helps to remove all the contaminants that might be present in/on the worms.
Take them out after a while, clean them, and directly add them into the bowl of already prepared Vietnamese fish sauce. The dish is said to have a fatty texture and is believed to taste much like the mixture of cheese and egg yolk.
Salty roasting coconut worms
This recipe for coconut worms is very similar to that of silkworm pupae. The worms are properly washed first and then combined with sugar, salt and seasoning powder. People usually prefer to eat this dish with rice.