Continuing my Korean culinary bucket list, today I tried 번데기 (beondegi), also known as steamed silkworm pupae. I have to be honest and admit that I don’t know what possessed me to try them, there wasn’t even alcohol involved. The stench alone, usually detectable from half a mile away, has made me retch in the past. All I can say is, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
We tried them in Insadong, from a street vendor. I’d heard that they taste like peanuts, but if that’s true then I’ve clearly been eating the wrong peanuts. There is one word, and one word alone to describe 번데기, and that is ‘nasty’. They tasted like they smelled; musty, fleshy and like burned nail clippings. Quite possibly how you’d imagine bugs boiled in their own juices to smell.
Having bit down on it it popped with a squelchy crunch, which can only have been the softened shell. The out-pour of insect guts was enough to have me reaching for the bottle of water that I’d bought from Starbucks in anticipation.
Another thing off the list, but I can safely say never again.