Cockroaches are a common insect that is found in Vietnam and has been incorporated into everyday snacks and meals. Vietnamese people eat cockroaches in many different ways. The most common include frying them, boiling them, roasting them, and incorporating them into meals. For some, cockroaches are a delicacy that is eaten raw.
Every region in Vietnam has its recipe for eating cockroaches. A popular dish is called "cockroach salad" which consists of cooked roaches (whole) that are tossed with lettuce and cabbage and further seasoned with garlic, lime juice, and chili pepper. Although it can be eaten as a meal, it is most often served as a snack, appetizer, or for larger parties. Vietnamese cuisine doesn't just stop there, as there are various other ways to prepare popular dishes. Roasting cockroaches on an open flame until they become crispy, and subsequently dipping them into a traditional fish sauce is considered a delicious snack, sometimes similar to the way marshmallows are prepared in the west.
Soups can often contain cockroaches as a supplement if meat is not available. A popular way to prepare this is to first add chicken or beef broth and then add freshly boiled live roaches to enrich the protein content.
Mexican cuisine does not have a whole lot of roaches but is common in some areas as a topping or a snack to enjoy. This may come as a surprise, but cockroaches have an abnormally high protein content, which can pack a lot of sustainability into one's diet, especially for those who are struggling with putting on muscle or have naturally high metabolisms. Cockroaches are most often added to nachos as toppings, or even eaten in certain taco recipes.
Depending on the region, certain other cuisines include roaches. For example, much like the people of Vietnam, it is common for some households to roast cockroaches over an open flame, and then add them to tacos and tortillas. If there are no tortillas around, the same roasted cockroaches can be added to salads as a primary protein source or added to traditional rice and beans to improve the texture and flavor.
China remains one of the highest consumers of exotic foods in the world, and cockroaches are no exception. China is the number one consumer of cockroaches on the planet. Because of its smaller size, it is most often served as a snack or topping to a lacking dish. What is interesting to note is that certain Chinese healthcare can include cockroaches as traditional medicine. In the Guangdong province, cockroaches are sold by street vendors who roast them over charcoal fires.
They are also popular in night markets as well, where it is customary to offer both prepared and live animals. Cockroaches can be purchased live, or you can pay an additional fee for the vendor to kill and prepare them for eating for you. China has specialized vendors which also sell other similar insects, such as centipedes, cicadas, and crickets.