The trend of eating insects

VietNamNet Bridge - Recently, FAO has informed that nearly two billion people in the world have been eating insects in different level.

Insect delicacies from Vietnam

Tasting insects in Son La

The world of insects in Vietnam


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There are about 1,900 kinds of insect that can be eaten and beetles, worms, butterflies are the most popular dishes besides bees, ants, grasshoppers and crickets. According to FAO, insects are not only low-fat, protein-rich food but it also reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases, creates jobs in developing countries and feeds millions of starving people.

In Vietnam, long before the recent announcement of FAO, insects are normal food in the countryside as well as cuisines in some areas. These dishes made from insects are now top-selling.

Mr. Kien, an owner of a low-profile restaurant in Dong Da District, Ha Noi claims that insects are widely favored among consumers by saying ‘These dishes are not scary at all but delicious. Although my restaurant is small and located in a small lane without any sign, it still attracts a lot of customers everyday’.

Although palm worm looks very horrible when it is alive, it is one of the most special dishes in Mr. Kien’ restaurant. ‘This food is so rare, we always run out. Especially, many customers prefer to eat them alive’ Mr. Kien says.

Mrs. Huyen, Kien’s wife shares ant eggs is also a popular dish. To serve customers better, they learned how to cook from Muong and Tay ethnic people and now there are 3 to 4 dishes made from ant eggs in their restaurant.

With a quite fascinating price, under 30,000 VND each dish, Mr. Kien’s restaurant is attracting more and more people even from outside Hanoi. He says they sell tens of kilograms of insects everyday.

Meanwhile, Miss. Thuy Anh, the owner of Kien restaurant in Hanoi, eating insects has been quite common for a long time, many kings and lords ate them in the past so these dishes are not new at all. She also states that this type of food are now so popular and demanding, it can be found in all kind of restaurants, from lower class to high class ones.

According to Ms. Thuy Anh, most people like insect foods including men and women; Vietnamese people and foreigners. In fact, many foreigners have visited her restaurant. Surprisingly, she also discloses the real reason she opened Kien store is that she can enjoy insect food, her secret passion whenever she wants.

There are a variety range of dishes made from insects in Kien restaurant with the price from 75,000 to 120,000 VND. Ms. Thuy Anh has seen many people looked at bugs and worms at first and they were very scared but then; after they tried, they complimented and they kept eating them.

Ms. Dung, a customer in Kien store, shares that she was invited to try insect foods by her friends and she was very scared after she saw them, she even vomited. But then, encouraged by her friends, she tried to taste, found it amazing and now she becomes addicted to this food.

Now, FAO is calling restaurants, chefs and food writers for strengthening the propaganda of insectivorous habits against world hunger. If people consume insects instead of animals, the situation may be different.

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Professor Bui Cong Hien and Engineer Dang Ngoc Anh say that insects are not only food but also source of medication.

For example, flies eggs can prevent infection -- when bee venom, honey and the milk of queen bee can cure rheumatic, bronchitis and gastroenteritis.

Besides, grasshoppers and locusts devastate crops while termites also damage many man-made products. Hence, in some cases, eating these insects can reduce the damage for humans very much.

Dr. Pham Hong Thai says eating insects is good for our health because they are low-fat food. However, hunting insects unreasonably and freely can lead to the ecological imbalance. He advises that we should only use raised insects.

Dr. Nguye Thu Cuc, former lecture in Can Tho University, thinks that insects are men’s enemy but they still play an important role in our lives.

Preserving the balance in the nature is one of its functions. They also are primary supporters in biological censor and destroying worms.

Therefore, we need to consider carefully in consuming insects to prevent from killing beneficial ones.

In terms of health safety, Dr. Vu Quoc Trung says that many insects contain poison, for example scorpion and bug, which can be very dangerous. As a result, he advises that if we don’t know how to eliminate the poison properly, we shouldn’t eat them for our own good.

Likewise, Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Cuc considers insects are the reason for transmitting dangerous disease to people. We need to be very careful in terms of raising, hunting, mating and cooking insects to avoid poison.

When most people cook insects as foods based only on old customs and their own experience, Dr. Pham Hong Thai suggests that the authority should research carefully and then announce which insects can be eaten without any harm for our health.

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