Coconut Worms in Vietnam: How to Cook & Is it Safe to Eat

Coconut Worms (Vietnamese: Đuông Dừa) is a type of snout beetle at its larvae stage. Also known as Duong Dua in Vietnamese, a coconut worm has the light yellow colour, generally sweet in taste, and about 3-5 cm long in size. Usually eaten alive, a single coconut worm is sold at around 25,000 Vietnamese dong (US$1) in Vietnam. Duong Dua is certainly one of the Strangest Delicacies in Vietnam.


Where do Coconut Worms come from? They live inside the trunk of coconut tree, causing it to hollow out. The worm lays its eggs inside of the hollowed tree and as soon as the eggs start to hatch into larvae, they start to live off the tree’s nutrition and the cycle continues, causing severe damage to the trees. This is the reason why coconut worms contain a significant quantity of nutrients (especially proteins) in them.


Coconut worms can only be found by looking for the coconut trees which have collapsed and shrunken leaves on the top. Provinces in the Mekong Delta of Southern Vietnam are well-known to have huge forests that contain coconut trees like Ben Tre & Vinh Long Provinces. A lot of coconut worms can be found feeding on these trees.


However, the local authorities have banned the breeding of coconut worms on the coconut trees. It is because these worms cause big damage to the trees and in order to harvest them that people needs to cut down the entire tree.


Are coconut worms dangerous and safe to eat? It is not dangerous for people as they do not bite. But the local agricultural scene would face the big harm if the worms were to overproduce in the region. So to prohibit the overproduction of coconut worms by local people, their breeding has been forbidden. Also it is safe to eat if you cook them proper way.

How are Coconut Worms Eaten?

As mentioned, coconut worms are usually eaten alive. Why are coconut worms eaten alive? Because local beleave that way will help to keep nutrition of the worms and good for health, and although it is alive, but they do not bite. However, there are other types of preparation that involve cooking them. Some prefer it boiled, while some prefer it fried or grilled.

  • Roasted Coconut Worms:

This recipe for coconut worms is very similar to that of silkworm pupae. The worms are properly washed first and then combined with sugar, salt and seasoning powder. People usually prefer to eat this dish with rice.


  • Grilled Coconut Worms:

Using a stick, pierce the worms altogether and then place them on a griller. Once the worms are properly grilled, it is recommended to serve them with different varieties of Vietnamese spices and herbs.


  • Deep-fried Coconut Worms:

For this recipe, take a medium-sized bowl and add the worms in it. Now, add egg yolk, pinch of salt and wheat flour. Mix properly and in batches, deep fry them. It is generally recommended to serve this dish with Vietnamese herbs.


  • Alive Coconut Worms with Fish Sauce:

This is the most common recipe that is followed to prepare coconut worms. The first step is to immerse the living worms in a bowl of alcohol. This step helps to remove all the contaminants that might be present in/on the worms.


Take them out after a while, clean them, and directly add them into the bowl of already prepared Vietnamese fish sauce. The dish is said to have a fatty texture and is believed to taste much like the mixture of cheese and egg yolk.

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See Also:

Coconut Worms in Vietnam: How to Cook & Is it Safe to Eat Coconut Worms in Vietnam: How to Cook & Is it Safe to Eat
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