For people in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, around 130 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, the cicada brings more than just songs.
Deep-fried cicada is a delicacy in Binh Phuoc. Locals usually catch them when they have just finished molting but are still relatively soft, like a newly molted soft-shelled crab.
The molting is usually very quick and done after it starts to get dark. In Binh Phuoc, the cicadas mostly live on rambutan and cashew trees. Locals take home the soft and vulnerable cicadas, mainly pinkish in color, to make into different dishes.
Before cooking, they wash the cicadas in dilute saltwater, dip them in boiled water and wash once again in cold water. The elaborate washing process is to avoid possible poisoning risks.
Cicada can be cooked with porridge, covered with flour before being deep-fried, stir fried with onions, or just deep-fried.
The deep-fried cicadas are served with herbs and dipping fish sauce mixed with garlic and chili.
The crunchy, buttery taste and the fragrance of the cicadas can be addicting.
Deep-dried cicadas are sold at Dong Xoai Market in Dong Xoai Town, the capital of Binh Phuoc, for around VND150,000 (US$6.8) a kilogram.
Original Vietnamese story here by VnExpress.net