12.19.2011

Silk Worm Larvae (Beondegi) – South Korea

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silkworm_crop The Chubby Orangutan

Photo Contributor: The Round Panda

While the Round Panda was disturbing the peace in Korea a few days ago, he came across a pretty common local dish called the Beondegi – the silk worm larvae. He said he was “too chicken to eat it”, but apparently his uncle was munching on these little creatures as if they were movie popcorn. I have been told that it is salty (because of the seasoning) and mushy (think micro organs), with high protein contents.

When I look at this photo, I imagine how their lives used to be: dinner parties in the mulberry leaves, must have been nice. When I was young, I adopted a few of them. I had them all in a shoebox with tons of fresh mulberry leaves, and in no time, they started building their own soft silky homes by transmuting their saliva into cocoons. In fact, this is the most vulnerable stage for silk worms, because it is at this time, people boil the cocoons to unravel the silk, and the pupa (the transforming silk worms incubating inside the cocoons) are seasoned with salt or spices; boiled, stewed or roasted, then digested into our system. Only a few survivors are lucky enough to turn into moths, or what I call “the ugly butterflies” .

I feel bad for them, more so than cows or pigs. The truth is that I’ve never killed a cow or a pig. But I did murder a couple silk worms by pushing the shoebox off the balcony at the mercy of my index finger, when my mother was not looking; somewhere between six and seven years old, when I was suddenly grossed out by worm-like creatures, and decided to raise tadpoles, turtles and rabbits instead.

I am sorry little silk worms; please forgive my index finger. And I am sorry to the innocent bystanders under my balcony, who were showered with silk worms and their cocoons.

 

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