Eating insects in Hanoi

(VOVworld) – Locusts, crickets, ants, silkworm cocoons, and stink bugs…just mentioning these small insects makes some people shiver. So what do you think about eating insects when they are turned into delicious dishes? Let’s find out more about insect cuisine in Hanoi in a report by Duc Quy.

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Fried stink bugs (Photo:

Locusts fried with lemon leaves, silkworms fried with onion, bugs fried with salt, steamed glutinous rice with ant-eggs, crickets fried with citronella, and fried black spiders have become popular among insect eating lovers in Hanoi in the past few years. Their favorite restaurants are “Kiên chim”, “Lan Chín”, and “Quán Kiến”.

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Steamed glutinous rice with ant-eggs. (Photo:

We are in the kitchen of the “Quan Kien” restaurant at 143 Nghi Tam Street where delicious insect dishes have been prepared for 4 years. The kitchen was designed according to European standards and the dishes from the modern kitchen are very popular. The ingredients are various kinds of insects along with lemon leaves, garlic, chilis, citronella, and powdered grilled rice. All of the cooks, even the restaurant’s owner, work all the time to bring out the flavor of the delicious insect dishes. Nguyen Thuy Anh, the owner of “Quan Kien” is making fried bugs. She reveals the secrets of the insect dishes: “Once fellow dinners overcome their initial fears and try the insects they will realize that they are delicious and tasty. And it’s even better after they drink beer or alcohol”.

Thuy Anh has thoroughly researched insect dishes and has successfully cooked more than 30 dishes including more than 15 kinds of popular insects. According to Anh, insect scientists estimate that there are around 1,700 kinds of edible insects. They can be served for dinner, desert, or as a kind of spice. They have a variety of tastes, but are basically meaty and delicious. So there is no limitation to creating new dishes from insects. Steamed glutinous rice with ant-eggs is one of the restaurant’s specialities. Thu Trang is a fellow dinner: “I’m interested in tasting new dishes. When my husband brought me here, seeing fried stink bugs on plates made me feel a little bit creepy. I still remember their smell. I decided to taste steamed glutinous rice with ant-eggs first and thought that it was strange but delicious. And then, I tried to eat stink bugs and liked them too, it was not what I thought. Since then, I like insect cuisine. I started to find out more about other cuisines of the world and realized that they enjoy insect food because of its high nutritional value.”

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Cicadas roasted with lemon leaves. (Photo:

Mr. Dong, 64 year olds, and his close friends regularly come to the restaurant to enjoy insect dishes: “I’m a hypertensive patient so I have to limit my consumption of eating animal fat. Therefore, I have changed to eating insects. I think they are fresh food and beneficial to the health of elders like me.”  

Regarding the diet’s nutritional value, doctor Dinh Thi Kim Lien, Deputy Head of the Nutrition Department of Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, says that insect dishes provide high mineral substances and protein, a little bit of amino-acid against oxygenation, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. It’s good for people’s health, especially for children and elders. Thuy Anh again: “According to scientific research, the nutritional value of insects is equal to, or even higher than that from cattle and poultry. Meanwhile, the cost of keeping insects is quite low and they do not impact on the environment. For example, 10 kilos of feed produces only 1 kilo of beef as against instead of 9 kilos of insects. As a result, the United Nations has called on all people to eat more insects to protect the environment.”

Insects are a source of fresh and safe food. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around 2 billion people around the world eat dishes made from insects at least once. Since 2008, the FAO has launched a program calling for the breeding and using of insects as a major food source to ensure food security. The organization said that insects are a cheap source of food, delicious, and environmentally-friendly. But, please pay attention to which that kinds of insects are edible. For more information, access the websites at: or

Here are some pictures of insect dishes:

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