During the rainy season people go into the forest to turn these black spiders with yellow stripes into a delicious dish.
This edible spider can be found in the forests of Binh Thuan Province in Vietnam’s south central coast.
Le Van Tu of the Protected Forest Management Department of Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province, has been working in Phan Dung forest for more than 10 years.
“There are many spiders in the forest, but only this black spider with yellow stripes is safe to eat,” he said.
The giant wood spider, whose scientific name is Nephila pilipes, has six legs, a black body with yellow stripes on its back and yellow spots on its belly. The male’s stripes are not as bright as the female’s and also has some pink.
The spiders proliferate during the rainy season between May and the beginning of August. They weave their webs on tree branches at the height of a person’s head or slightly higher.
The adults are about the size of a human thumb. People with experience only need a dry twig to get them down.
People can roast or fry the spiders with salt and chili.
Mang Hanh, an ethnic Raglai living in Phan Dung Commune, Tuy Phong District, specializes in catching spiders. He said locals see this as a specialty good for health. Spiders can save people in the forest from hunger if their food runs out, he said.
Cooking this dish is simple. If there is no pot or pan, Hanh skewers them on a stick and roasts them over charcoal. The spiders taste better if roasted with fish sauce or salt. Its rich and buttery taste, and a little bit of silk, make this dish unique.
Mang Hanh of Phan Dung Commune specializes in catching spiders.
“This is a specialty of Phan Dung forest. They are everywhere in the forest. People who went into the forest before us ate a lot of them and then told us about it. I wanted to try them, so I started going into the forest and catch them. This dish is also fantastic when you’re drinking.”