Insects and other exotic food in Vietnam
Many tourists going to Asian countries expect to try absolutely exotic cuisine and find fried scorpions or grasshoppers offered at every step. But Vietnam is somewhat different. The fact is that eating insects is more common in neighboring countries — Cambodia and Thailand. The diet of the tipical Vietnamese includes mainly simple dishes made of rice and noodles with meat, poultry or fish.
How to try insects in Vietnam
Still, if you want to try insects in Vietnam, you can have the opportunity. You can find silkworm pupae being sold in any supermarket or market. Sometimes they’re just laying between minced meat and chicken filet. Of course, the Europeans are not accustomed to the fact that you can just walk in the store and buy half a kilo of pupae as a snack, and find it very strange, maybe even disgusting. But in fact they’re pure protein and many compare well-cooked pupae with crab or shrimp meat. Some believe believe that silkworm pupae should be served with pureed durian. It makes the dish double exotic. Some people say that the taste of pupae resembles nuts with mozzarella and scrambled eggs.
The pupae are considered a real delicacy, as they have lots of useful properties. Silkworm pupae are popular not only in Vietnam, but also in other Asian countries. For example, in Korea they are steamed or cooked in oil with spices, in Japan they are eaten with algae, sugar, soy sauce and sake, and Indians prefer to eat pupae with chili pepper and salt. Chinese scientists offer to use larvae as food for astronauts during long-term missions. The Chinese believe that the miniature ecosystems where the insects are developing will be able to become an inexhaustible source of protein for the flight participants.
In Vietnam, you can also find cicadas in the menu of an ordinary restaurant. Often they are cooked in batter, so psychologically it’s not hard to eat them. Cicadas are usually served as crunchy beer snacks. Their taste is usually compared to asparagus or chips. In Asia, cicadas are cooked with soy sauce.
Some rstaurants also serve fried scorpions. They look frightening, but not fastidious lovers of the exotic food are glad to order them sometimes.
More exotic food to try in Vietnam
In addition to insects, there are other exotic dishes in Vietnam. Crocodile or ostrich meat barbecues are pretty common here. Here you can buy frogs, considered an expensive delicacy in Europe, at little cost in cheap village pubs.
Balut egg is another unusual dish. It’s a duck egg with a formed bird embryo inside. These eggs are served with herbs and spices and even children eat them.
Another interesting dish that can be found in Vietnam is a soup of swiftlets nests. This soup is considered very beneficial and you can find it in good restaurants, as this dish is not cheap.
In addition, in Vietnam, as in Korea, people eat dogs. Sure, there are many animal lovers in the country. They consider dogs to be pets and would never ever eat them. But there are still restaurants that serve food made of dog meat. Such delicacies as dog barbecue with lemongrass or dog meat steamed with shrimp paste, may seem to us very questionable. But for many Vietnamese who have been eating dogs for many years and consider their meat nutritious and useful, it is a tasty dinner.
As you can see, in Vietnam there is a place for exotics in culinary terms. But still these dishes are not sold at every step. Tourists are mostly familiar with the food sold on the streets, and the restaurants serve lots of European dishes.