“Đuông dừa” (Coconut larvae) is a famous specialty in Vietnam. However, it's been prohibited because of its harm to the biological environment. Yet, for those who had tried this dish, it is known to intimidate many Vietnamese and foreign tourists alike, due to its frightening first impression.
Đuông dừa looks like a young worm with a flexible milky-white body. They are the larva form of a small selection of beetle species. After their breeding season, they choose a healthy coconut tree to drill a hole at the treetop and lay eggs into. After being hatched, the larvae grow by eating the nutrients of the tree until eventually, they drill a hole through it. When prepared, Đuông dừa is very tasty and is known to be the one and only specialty of the coconut area in the Mekong Delta.
A popular dish featuring đuông dừa is raw đuông dừa with salty fish sauce. Living đuông dừa that is still moving in the bowl of spicy fish sauce is directly eaten in the mouth. The flavor is rich and greasy and many people compare to a slowly dissolving egg yolk.
In Trà Vinh, a type of đuông dừa called đuông chà là is especially popular and tasty. These larvae live in the date palm. There is only one grown up đuông dừa in each date palm. When eaten, Đuông chà là tastes very rich, fatty and can be deep fried or roasted.
To be continued...