Bug Blog

Video of Vietnamese Dining on What Looks Like Live Worms is Going Viral

We are not exactly tucking excitedly away at insects just yet over here in the United States, but over in Vietnam it is clear they have enjoyed dining on insects for a long time. A video was recently posted featuring a big bowl of what looks like live worms wriggling around in a chili broth being served at a Vietnamese restaurant in Dong Nai. Of course, as it showcases live wriggling worms in soup, the video immediately caught the attention of people on the Internet, especially people in less insect-friendly countries like ours. Ground up crickets is one thing, but a bowl of writhing worm-like insects that are clearly still alive is just too much for most of the western world.

The larvae/worm-looking creatures marinated with red chili and moving around in some kind of soup are eaten while still alive, and the dish is considered a delicacy in Vietnam. Now, this is not exactly rare, as there are numerous dishes served in the East that feature the consumption of living insect-like creatures in soup broth. In China there is even a dish in which live shrimp are placed in red wine and the diner simply waits for the shrimp to get drunk and then happily tucks into those hammered little crustaceans.

Experts have been arguing over exactly what kind of insect the worm-like creatures are in the video. Skye Blackburn, a farmer of edible insects in Australia believes that they are part of the Hornworm caterpillar species. While she was surprised to see the things being alive, Blackburn did claim that these insects have a great deal of nutrients such as protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients. She thinks they are specifically Tobacco Hornworms rather than the more widely eaten Tomato Hornworms. However, Penelope Mitchell, the director of Worms Downunder, believes that they are not worms, but instead the larvae of a species of butterfly.

Have you ever visited a foreign country and seen a dish featuring insects like these living worm-like creatures or something equally strange? Do you think it is safe to eat raw worms?