How are coconut worms in Vietnam?

Coconut worms used to be tasty food in the region of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. But, coconut worms have not been allowed to sell, buy or grow to protect the coconut trees and other plants in the same family. So, you have to notice this tip to avoid being punished a lot of money.

To help some guests who are curious to study the worms of coconut, we introduce some food that the locals used to make in the past.

Coconut worm
Coconut worm | @tranlehongsuong

Coconut worms

Coconut worms are called Đuông dừa in Vietnamese, also called coconut weevils.

The worms live in coconut trees and eat the youngest part of the plants, so they contain plenty of healthy proteins. However, they are only as big as an adult’s index finger, about 3 to 5 cm long, and light yellow in their whole body.

We can only find coconut weevils when the leaves on the top of the coconut are wilted and collapsed. In the Mekong Delta, especially Ben Tre province, worms can eat a lot of coconuts to death.

Usually, every year, after the mating season, dynastinae beetles often choose strong coconut trees to make a hole on the tops to produce eggs.

The eggs hatch and grow up thanks to eating young coconut that is both soft and nutritious. They eat the coconut’s top until it is pierced, exhausting the coconut tree and dying to death.

So, all coconut worms are full of milk, fat, round, and limp, making many people look a little frightened with their outside appearance.

However, a few people use coconut weevils to cook them with fish sauce, fried, grilled, boiled. Here are the dishes used to eat from this special kind of ingredients to research.

1. Salty roasting coconut worms

The fresh worms washed are placed in a saucepan with salt, sugar, and seasoning powder, similar to how to make silkworm pupae. Many families often use this dish as a savory to eat with rice.

2. Breaded fried dish

After pre-processing, put a few peanuts into the body of the worms, roll them through the flour mixture of chicken eggs, a little pepper paste, salt.

Fry them well in a fat pan and then stir over butter to become more fragrant. After frying, let the fat drain, eat coconut worms with raw vegetables to feel less fatty.

3. Baked with salt and chili

The coconut worms are skewered into bamboo sticks, grilled over charcoal until golden, then rolled with vegetables such as lettuce, tomato, basil, perilla, green chili, and dipped into the tamarind fish sauce to enjoy.

4. Steamed sticky rice with worms

While steaming sticky rice, add some coconut worms on the surface. The rice and worms are cooked at the same time.

People can eat coconut weevils with sticky rice, or they can also make the milk on worm bodies to mix well with sticky rice.

Diners often enjoy this dish with sweet-sour fish sauce or roasted chicken.

5. Coconut-worm porridge

This simple porridge consists of coconut worms, pork, rice, ginger, green onions, spices, and a little coconut milk.

Particularly with coconut weevils, they need to have a careful process to do:

  1. wash the worms with cool water,
  2. put them in a cup of white rice wine for 2 minutes before taking them out,
  3. put the worms again in a cup of chili fish sauce for a few minutes,
  4. keep them in the refrigerator to make them better for a while.

This process helps to clean the worms, soak the spices, preventing the worms from breaking out when cooked.

This nutritious porridge is often used to foster health, increase vitality.

6. Bathing fish sauce

coconut worms
Coconut worms with fish sauce | @ntvvirus

This way is to eat fresh worms being alive, also called fun name – coconut weevils swimming in the river. It is because the fat worms swim in a bowl of spicy chili fish sauce.

Due to eating raw, many guests are not brave enough to try it, but the dish has high nutritional content.

Pick up alive weevil into your mouth, chew it slowly to let strange feelings spread in your mouth, and you will feel the sweet taste, like egg yolk and cheese.

7. Boil with coconut water

The young weevils after boiling with fresh coconut water are very fragrant and fatty.

This dish can be rolled with some traditional herbs, wrapping with thin rice paper and dipping them into fish sauce mixed with lemongrass, minced chili.

8. Making coconut salad with weevils

This salad is made from the young coconut bud located in the middle of the top of the coconut tree.

The chef slices the bud into small pieces, mix them with ​​bell peppers, green onions, lobster or shrimp meat, crispy shrimp-puff cake.

Mix all the above-mentioned ingredients well with spices such as mustard, vinegar, olive oil. Then, place it into a plate, and add about fifty golden fried coconut worms on top.

The coconut worms are harmful insects to the coconut trees and other plants in the same family. Thus, these worms are not currently allowed to grow, buy, or sell.

Therefore, to protect coconut trees in Vietnam, especially in the Ben Tre region in the Mekong Delta, we do not encourage visitors to try coconut weevils.

Please try other tasty foods, such as Vietnamese noodles, Banh mi Vietnam or Banh Nam Hue!

Frequently asked questions about coconut worms:

Is coconut worm safe to eat?
In general, coconut worm is alright to eat when many Vietnamese people can taste it. Typically, when drinking beer or wine, drinkers often like to enjoy coconut worm.

However, it is strange Vietnamese food for foreign tourists, and the local government does not allow to sell coconut worm. Thus please think twice when you want to try it.

What do coconut worms taste like?
Coconut worms taste like fresh milk. But, the feeling to look at the worms and when to bite them is too different from normal food.

Where are the most coconut worms in Vietnam?
Most places to find the coconut worms in Vietnam is in the Mekong delta, where plenty of coconut trees are grown; specifically, in Ben Tre province.

About the author

The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.