Coconut worms – The specialty of Southern region

VietnamSurprise – Coconut worms is one of the most famous Southern specialties. The southwestern people process coconut worms into delicious dishes like grilled worms, fish-sauce pickled worms or worms fried with butter.

Coconut worms dish in Vietnam 1
Worms live in the tops of coconut trees. They are white, fat and as big as the little fingers. Photo: VNE

For many, it is fearful to see coconut worms which are as big as fingers wiggling. But with southwestern people, they are the gift of nature, a specialty that is not always available.

In the southwestern region, coconut worms are most in Ben Tre, which is home to the vast forests of coconuts. Though they are harmful for coconuts, they are the raw material for processing many aromatic, fatty and delicious cuisines.

Every year, in the rainy season may-bugs begin hollowing out coconut trees to lay eggs inside. When the eggs are hatched into larvae, the larvae begin to eat the coconut trees. When coconut trees are waned, it is also the time the coconut larvae are very fat. As such, people just cut down the coconut trees to collect worms.

Coconut worms dish in Vietnam 2

The easy-processing and being the most popular dish, fresh worms served with chili sauce.

The living worms are dropped into a bowl of alcohol. After the worms emit contaminants, they are washed and put into a bowl of chili fish sauce. The living worms are fat and fleshy, which feels no different from egg yolk.

Coconut worms are also processed into other cuisines like fried butter worms, fried worms served with herbs, etc. But the most unique cuisine is coconut worms with sticky rice. Coconut worms are steamed on the sticky rice pot. When the steamed glutinous rice is done to a turn, the worms are also done. Sticky rice and coconut works are severed together, making a very special flavor.

Besides coconut worms, the southwestern people also have two other kinds of worms, which are quite rare – worms from dung dinh trees and worms from palm trees. According to their experience, worms from dung dinh trees are the best for gruel and the other kind is the best for grilling.