Jul 21 2011
A trip to Ho Chi Minh City isn’t complete without a quick visit to the Cu Chi district, where the city’s big buildings melt away and morph into rural countryside. While the area is most famous for its tunnels and war history, Cu Chi has something else worth a visit: a Cu Chi cricket farm. A stop here will show you the process, and give you a taste, of the popular culinary delicacy.
Legend has it that hungry soldiers in the area during wartime discovered the edible value of crickets when they ran out of more traditional food. Now, there are several cricket farms in the district.
A cricket farm looks rather unassuming from the outside, besides the loud cricket noise emanating from within, and once inside is just rows and stacks of plastic baskets. Breeding pairs are put into the baskets, which are too slippery for the crickets to crawl out. Here they produce eggs that can be sold at market to other potential farmers or the eggs will hatch and produce crickets that will be ready to eat in roughly three months.
The most common way to prepare your cricket is by frying it. After you remove the insides, simply toss them in the pan or deep fryer and cook until they turn golden brown. Then put them on a plate, and serve with a hot sauce.
While they look about as unappealing as anything you could eat, it turns out that crickets actually have good nutritional value: they are high in protein, iron, and calcium and low in fat, making them a good snack food choice. Not only are they good for you but, very surprisingly, they actually taste pretty good. Light and crunchy, they have a flavour similar to a barbecue potato chip. Besides a finger food, you also have the option of using them in salads or with noodles.
Give crickets a try! They’re not that bad. Plus, with healthy food becoming ever more popular, we might be seeing them in Western restaurants sooner than we think.
Thanh Tung Cricket Farm
Ben Do 2 Block, Tan Phu Ward, Cu Chi County, HCMC
T: (08) 3796 1753
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