Wrapped in a waxy green banana leaf with char around the edges, the honeycomb looks a little like an oddly shaped corn cob, fresh off the grill. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the invitingly plump kernels are actually small, whitish bee larvae, still housed in their honeycomb hexagons. After cooking over hot coals, protected by its banana leaf packaging, the larvae-containing comb is unwrapped and eaten warm as a surprisingly juicy, sweet, and nutty snack.
In Laos and Cambodia, where bee larvae honeycomb is popular, insects are an important source of protein. Bee larvae packs a particularly strong punch of protein and flavor. Described by one chef as tasting like “fatty honey,” the larvae survive on beebread, “the slightly fermented pollen stores of the hive,” lending to their subtly sweet flavor.
The best way to get your hands on this filling snack? When combing markets for comb, look for vendors selling whole honeycomb and honey. If there are little green packets on the grill nearby, you know it’s fresh.
Where to Try It
Luang Prabang Morning MarketAlleys between Main St. (Sisavangvong Rd.) and Mekong River , Luang Prabang, 0600, Laos
The market opens around 6:30 a.m. Don't be too late or risk missing out on fresh produce and other local specialties such as stinkbugs and monitor lizard meat.