This is Bundegi - boiled silkworm larvae
Copyright ksbuehler via Creative Commons license
Doesn't it just look appealing? How scrumptious! They look similar to the huge ass water bugs that crawl around the subway platforms in NYC and they smell like some kind of wonderful that you will never forget. Yes, this is all hearsay. I've never been to Seoul so I have no idea what this is like, but I have been told by many that they are an unforgettable smell. Like a mix between rotten garbage and pungent old dirty socks filled with really old gorgonzola cheese. But wait, you can't go by smell! After all, some of the creamiest and most delicious cheese in the world smells horrendously gag worthy.
So then what does it taste like? Well, apparently they are very juicy little critters that takes you by surprise when they squirt its creamy, salty, briny innard goodness in your mouth, leaving you with the unpleasant sensation of not knowing whether to spit or swallow. Hey, I think more men should try this snack! And apparently it tastes sort of like muddy kidney beans.
I'm sorry, but this is considered a popular treat in Korea? Perhaps this is one of those things that is an acquired taste. Unfortunately, I'm not sure why anyone would want to acquire this taste. But that might just be my American side talking here.
Apparently you can buy the stuff at all these little hot dog vendor like stands all over Seoul. Some old Korean lady with the short bad perm job that marks her status as an ajima (korean word for old married lady) boils them up in a big steaming vat and serves them in dixie cups with toothpicks. But for the toothpicks, it would be like popping brown popcorn, right?
So wrong! I was over at my friend's house when she pulled this out of her pantry.
Copyright Todd Mecklem via Creative Commons license
CANNED BUNDEGI!!!!! Said she found it in a local Korean supermarket and had to try it because it reminded her of Seoul. She opens the can and there are like hundreds of these little suckers in this grayish brown dishwater like sauce and she asks me if I want to try one.
Hmmmm, let me think, HELL NO!!!!
But you should try it, for research purposes, she says.
You know, I love research, but to eat something that looks and smells like a turd is just never gonna happen, no matter how badly I need the research. So I pass, ever so reluctantly, and she sneers at me as she pops a couple in her mouth. I turn about as gray as the liquid in the can as she laughs at me.
I ask her - Is it supposed to smell like Ass?
She is disgusted with me.
But bundegi sort of sounds like koondengi which is Korean for Ass. I say.
And you call yourself a Korean? she asks.
Nope, I'll call myself Elmer J. Fudd or anything you want, just so I won't have to eat that thing.