Boendegi: a Wormy Delicacy

By snackfever

When you were little, did you ever wonder what an insect or a worm would taste like?  As always, Korean street food has got you covered for literally any kind of food you may have ever thought of. There is a popular snack called Boendegi (번데기), which literally translates to “pupa” in English, which is made with silkworm pupae! You can find it at pretty much any market in South Korea. Worms may sound intimidating to try, but what’s life without a little adventure!

So how is this insect prepared? You can usually get it either boiled or steamed and then served to you in a cup with a toothpick for handling. If you’re in China or Singapore, they typically come fried.

Silkworms have been used for their unique silk threading for many generations now. After they’re used for their silk they are usually tossed out, so in order to avoid waste, they become snacks! The worms  are also packed with protein and amino acids. Its nutritional value is why it became the common snack it is today.

It has a seafood-like aroma and a crunchy outer texture with a soft inner texture as well as a bit of a juicy pop in your mouth once you bite into it. Many would say it’s an acquired taste, which is most likely true, but I will say that many Koreans and foreigners do enjoy it! I mean, after all, they wouldn’t sell canned versions of it in stores if it wasn’t tasty!

The reviews for boendegi are very mixed, but if we limited ourselves by what others thought where would we be?! If you ever encounter it, whether in Korea or canned in a local store, definitely give it a try and let us know what you think!

Written by Amanda G.

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