Saturday, February 28, 2009

Delicious, Nutty, Buttery Silk Worm Pupae At Bangkok Market In The Hawthorne Eco Village!

A few days ago, I was browsing some of the frozen foods at Bangkok Market in the Hawthorne Eco Village, and I saw an item I had never seen before: frozen silk worm pupae. Of course, it was packaged under a delightful euphemism: "ground cucumber."

Silk worm pupae have been a popular food item in the Orient for thousands of years. When the cocoon of the silk moth caterpillar is harvested for textile production, the pupae are a byproduct. But this byproduct can be deep fried or stir fried. Based on the appearance of what was in the package, I immediately realized...

the "ground cucumber" was silk worm pupae.

I asked the owner of the store about preparation and whether you eat the whole thing, or just parts of it. He told me to deep fry the pupae, and to eat the whole thing: just dip 'em in sauce and pop 'em in your mouth, like popcorn. I told him I didn't have a deep fryer and, besides, I wasn't confident of my ability to prepare the pupae properly. Could I pay him to cook these up for me at the deli? He agreed and only charged me two dollars. My special-order pupae came in a little container, with a side of hot sauce.

First of all, silkworm pupae don't have a lot of taste. Maybe a subtle nutty, buttery flavor that's pleasant, even delicious in an understated way but mostly they're just crunchy, with a soft yellow center the consistency and color of herb butter. (That's the undeveloped insect inside the crunchy pupae shell) The dish is not repulsive--that's all in your head--but it's more like a snack food than an entree. A whole plate full of pupae hardly fills you up. I had some sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf to round out the meal.

Some other things in the store I'd like to try include apple snails and whole frogs. Some cultures just eat the frog legs, but I'm told there is a lot of useful meat on the rest of the frog.

My thanks to the Bangkok Market for giving me the opportunity to sample a dish that is, from my point of view, quite exotic.


Anonymous said...

oh man, i think i'm going to ... barf.

pictures of fried baby worms and a slight hangover do not mix.

Jeanie Hoholik said...

Is it like pork rinds, maybe? It sounds gross just because of the under developed insect goo inside. But, I believe you!

Johnny Northside said...

Pork rinds have more flavor and crunch. But these pupae things are very insubstantial. Have you ever had softshell crab in a spider roll? The crunch from these pupae is very light and insubstantial, like the crab in a spider roll...there isn't much flavor, not in the shell, not in the soft center. Not even as much flavor as a the crab in a spider roll.

They're fine by themselves, but they'd probably be better stir-fried with some veggies.

JNS Reader said...

You're a brave man, Johnny. Keep us posted on the apple snails...

AnnYin said...

Hey JNS...bravo for trying out something different! I really like reading your blog site and will definitely stop in the two markets you have blogged about recently.

what's cookin', good lookin'? said...

Thanks for the post! I ran across "ground cucumber" this morning in my neighborhood Asian Grocery (Viet-Wah) and immediately recognized them as some sort of pupating insect. I figured my degree in entomology made it an imperative that I try them. Your tips on preparation are very helpful. Gonna bust out the deep fryer and come up with some seasoning to toss them in, given your notes on their bland flavor.

Johnny Northside! said...

Even though this isn't an unusual foods blog, per se, you might find some enjoyment reading my blog posts about African snails, (a shout out to Megan for being such a good sport and trying to cook them) durian fruit, balut, and the video of the bug eating at CeeCee's birthday party.

Johnny Northside! said...

This information arrived by email, not as blog spam. I am reposting it here for anybody seeking this kind of info.


Dear Sir,

We are into silk business since 24 years. We got the information that your company is buying dry silk worm pupa WE here in Ramanagar it is very famous for silk yarn manufacturing and it is Asia’s No one silk market. So we are exporting silk jute (KIBISU) waste cocoons.

We can supply about 100 tons of silk worm pupas per month. If you are interested in buying from us, we can start our new business deal. We will dry the pupas and supply it and supply at a very reasonable price. I hope you will give a positive response.

Our payment term is L/C.Or 50 % advance 50 % TT.

Thanking you.

Yours truly.

syed sadiq

Anonymous said...

Put them in touch with most best famous importer well known Spanky Pete!

Johnny Northside! said...

Importer of what? Tupperware?