Beondegi (pronounced “bondegui”) is a Korean delicacy consisting of cooked silkworm pupae (silkworms that are going through the maturity transition process). It is a very popular snack that is usually sold at street food stalls, and it has a very strong and characteristic taste and smell. It is also one of the most unusual foods that often attracts foreigners’ attention.
The Korean word beondegi literally means “chrysalis” in English and refers to the state of metamorphosis that some insects go through in their transition between larval and adult forms. However, when this word is used in general terms, it usually refers to food, both already prepared and still raw without cooking.
Beondegi is easily distinguished by its strong and penetrating smell, similar to toasted wood. The taste is also very strong, but not unpleasant. The texture is the most curious because the larvae are like little bags that, despite being almost empty, sometimes explode in the mouth when modeled.
History & Cultural Significance
Beondegi is a traditional snack that has been eaten in Korea for decades. It is very common to find mobile street stalls that sell paper cups with beondegi, so that the larvae are eaten one by one with the help of a wooden toothpick.
Today, the world of snacks offers many more options (some very ridiculous), so beondegi is losing a bit of popularity in Korea compared to more palatable snacks like pastries. But that doesn’t mean it is rare or difficult to find food. On the contrary, it is still very common to see children and young people with the glass of larvae in hand.
Many people dislike beondegi because of its appearance. Others find the smell disgusting, but it is a matter of habit again. For example, many Koreans find the smell of cheese just as repulsive.
There are environmental and economic aspects related to the consumption of insects that are taken into account in developed countries: insects are a good alternative for all problems, since they provide proteins, vitamins, fiber and minerals. They are also cheap, easy and fast to breed and their consumption has no impact on the environment.
- Canned Beondegi - 1
- Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp
- Sriracha Hot Sauce - 1 tbsp
- Sesame Oil - 1 tsp
- Garlic Cloves - 2
- Drain the canned beondegi and soak for at least an hour in cold water to get rid of the smell.
- Prepare a marinade with the ingredients listed above.
- Let the washed off silkworm pupa marinade for about half an hour.
- While the beondegi is being marinated, prepare a baking sheet with the help of parchment paper as well as preheat the oven at about 400°F.
- Place the marinated silkworm pupa over the baking sheet and roast it in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the sheet becomes light and crispy. Ensure shaking the sheet every 10 minutes to ensure evenly heating.
- After taking out the preparation, sprinkle salt to taste and serve hot.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 12g