From yucky to yummy: 10 Vietnamese dishes that really cross the line

Thanh Nien News

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News website VnExpress has just released a list of Vietnamese dishes that may give you a heart attack but many say are very delicious. 

1. Nậm pịa 

This is a traditional dish of ethnic Thai people in the northern mountainous region. It is a soup cooked from a fluid taken from a cow’s intestine, frozen blood and internal organs of cows, horses and goats. 

This dish tastes a bit bitter and spicy. It is a favorite among locals during winter market sessions in mountainous areas.

A nậm pịa bowl 

2. Rat meat 

The rat here is paddy rat, and they eat mostly grass, sweet potatoes, cassava and rice. So its meat is said to be healthy and delicious. It can be cooked in different ways -- grilled, fried or stir-fried. 

Paddy rats are widely consumed across Vietnam, from the Red River Delta in the north to the country's rice basket, the Mekong Delta, in the south.

Grilled rats

3. Coconut worm 

The soft, fatty and wriggling worm may terrify many, but it is a very favorite dish in the Mekong Delta. It can be grilled, fried or steamed.

Probably the most terrifying way to eat these coconut worms is to drop the still living ones into fish sauce until the worms are soaked in the sauce, and then you pick each worm and put it into your mouth.

Coconut worms soaked in fish sauce

4. Lizard 

Kỳ nhông or giông is a wild reptile found mostly in sand hills in Binh Thuan Province.

It is usually grilled or stewed with Chinese medicinal herbs, or it can be used to make salad dishes and cooked into soup. 

Its meat is said to be nutritious and delicious. 

Grilled salamander

5. Scorpion 

In the past, scorpion was usually soaked in wine and consumed as a traditional medicing.

In recent years it has fallen into the frying pans of restaurants. It is usually deep fried or grilled. 

Deep-fried scorpions 

6. Cicada 

Cicada is another favorite dish in the Mekong Delta, particularly the province of Vinh Long.

It can be soaked in a tempura-like batter and deep fried, or cooked with rice porridge.

People usually catch cicadas during their moulting process when they are shedding their skins, as the cicadas, they say, taste the best then.

Deep-fried cicadas 

7. Snake 

Snake is a speciality of the Mekong Delta. It can be cooked into many different dishes, including snake hotpot, snake porridge, fried snake, grilled snake, stewed snake and snake salad.

A snake hotpot

8. Bamboo shoots' worm 

This dish is usually served during rainy season in mountainous areas of Thanh Hoa Province.

Bamboo shoots’ worms can be soaked in wine or cooked into various dishes. It is said to be highly nutritious, tasty and healthy.

Fried bamboo shoot worms

9. Cricket 

Cricket is a favorite in the Mekong Delta provinces of Tra Vinh, An Giang and Can Tho.

During rainy season, the crickets in the delta are fat. They are caught and then deep fried by farmers. There are also some farms in which crickets are commercially farmed to be sold to restaurants.

Deep-fried crickets

10. Chinese bamboo rat 

The Chinese bamboo rat is found in mountainous areas of the Central Highlands and northern Vietnam.

Its meat can be steamed, fried or stewed. It has become a speciality of the mountains given its tastiness and rich protein.

A Chinese bamboo rat being grilled


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