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Snack attack: snug as a bug

Susan Jung

 

Photo: Shutterstock

 

The pupae of silkworms are so loved by Koreans you might wonder whether any are allowed to grow up and turn into moths. You'll find beondegi vendors on almost any crowded street in South Korea, and the pupae are available as a convenience food in cans. An artificially flavoured crunchy, pupae-shaped fried snack is also popular.

Beondegi is an acquired taste: my friends and I ordered silkworm-pupae soup out of curiosity at a Korean restaurant on Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui (the waitress tried to dissuade us, but we insisted), and although we ate as much as we could to be polite, we couldn't finish the bowl - the musty flavour suggested something that had been left on a pantry shelf for too long.

The silkworm pupae are removed from their silk cocoons, then boiled. They're often served just like that, but they taste much better if they're then deep-fried, leaving the exterior delicately crisp while the inside remains soft. Being very high in protein, they make for a highly nutritious snack.

 

 

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