Insects including crickets, worms and locusts have always been favorite ingredients in the cuisine of Muong people in Thanh Hoa province. When the weather gets cold and wet, it is a perfect time for Muong people to start their favorite ‘sau mang’ (bamboo worms) collecting.
To collect bamboo worms, Muong people’s most important tools are a knife and a basket. People often look for dry and almost died bamboo trees, chop them down then have bamboo stalks emptied to get bamboo worms inside. In a lucky day, one can get 1 to 1.5 kilogram of bamboo worms. The worm is white in color with a body length of 3.5 to 4 centimetres long.
There are different ways to cook bamboo worms, such as deep fry, steam and braise but the most popular dish for Muong people is bamboo worm stir fry. The worms are washed and cleaned carefully then seasoned with salt for 15 minutes. Heat the fat in a wok, add shallots, worms and stir fry for 3 minutes.
When the worms become light golden, add a bit finely chopped lime leaves, give another a quick stir fry and have the dish served immediately. The worm is succulent and juicy. The sweet scent of bamboo combines with the strong flavor of worm and the light bitter of lime leaves all make a unique dish that is especially perfect to enjoy in cold and humid days.
Bamboo worm can also be used as an ingredient in the home-made wine of Muong. People here give the freshest and most delicious worms a really quick stir-fry before sucking them in wine. The worm-wine will be ready after about one month and is one of the most favorite drinks of Muong people.