Vietnamese have one thing in common with Timon & Pumbaa

By Hoang Hoang   July 15, 2016 | 10:03 pm PT
Vietnamese have one thing in common with Timon & Pumbaa
Ever heard of gourmet bugs?

‘Chau chau’

Remember those childhood days, when your parents took you to the countryside for weekend holidays? You probably saw these little guys jumping around on the grass. The best time to enjoy grasshoppers is after the harvesting season, when they are fattened enough. ‘Chau chau’, grasshoppers, are then caught, prepared into various dishes. The most popular being fried grasshopper with lime leaf and chilli, the spicy one. Fried grasshopper with its unique taste and a crunchy texture, accompanied by the refreshing sense of lime leaf and the blazing, robust red chilli, would surely give food enthusiasts an explosion of flavors.

‘Trung kien’

People do eat chicken eggs and duck eggs so... why not ant egg, or ‘trung kien’ in Vietnamese? But not all kinds of ant eggs can turn into food. Only eggs of the big, black ants that live on trees can be eaten. The harvested eggs are carefully washed by hand, naturally dried, fried with shallot and then wrapped with banana leaf along with sticky rice. Ant eggs are soft and moist, guaranteeing an explosive taste, when combined with the slight chewiness of rice and the fried shallot.


'Ruoi' is a soft worm that lives in valleys where freshwater meets saltwater. Strangely enough, they only appear once every year during the ninth and tenth lunar months. ‘Ruoi’ comes around everywhere just in time for the mandarin season. Local people for generations have used the available ingredients which are 'ruoi' and mandarin’s skin to make ‘cha ruoi’- an exclusively northern taste. Washed ‘ruoi’ is mixed with minced pork, eggs and a twist of finely chopped mandarin’s skin before getting deep fried. Those who are far away from home, after years, would still long for the warm and cozy atmosphere that ‘cha ruoi’ brings about at family dinners.

‘Duong dua’

Living inside coconut trees, ‘duong dua’, coconut larva, brings a lot of emotions to those who dare to try it. Coconut larvae is a giant curvy worm that lives on top of coconut trees. In Vietnam, coconut larvaes are often served alive with fish sauce. Customers will have to struggle through the idea of eating an alive, moving larvae before they can truly taste the intriguing, manipulative flavors of  'duong dua'.

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