On Friday evening, I wanted to have some fried chicken for dinner. In my part of town, Korean fried chicken places are very popular. I decided to try one of the places close to me but that I had not ordered from before.
I looked at their menu and along with fried chicken, they had a “delicacies” section. One of the items listed in that section was “pupa soup“. “Pupa” as in insects? I did some quick Googling and yeah, that’s what it is. As strange as consuming a soup made with insects sounded, I didn’t see any pictures beforehand and life is about trying new things, so I ordered it, along with my fried chicken.
When I got my food order home, I admit I ate a lot of fried chicken first before opening the container of pupa soup. It was in a Styrofoam container which was sealed with a plastic bag. I opened all that stuff up and when I took the top off the Styrofoam container, I was met with the pungent odour that Google had warned me about. It smelled like a woodsy decaying smell, as strong and as distinctive as the Internet had warned me. While the smell was unique and strong, it looked like a normal broth that any Asian soup could look like. That’s when I got a spoon and to dig up the contents at the bottom of the container.
As you can see above, that’s what greeted me. The restaurant did not skimp on giving me the silkworm pupae. There were lots of them. There was also some onion and slices of jalapeno peppers. While this particular soup was odd, I wasn’t put off from it. I really wanted to try it. I cautiously spooned up one pupa, along with some of the soup. It all went into my mouth.
The soup itself was bitter. The decaying woodsy smell was now in my mouth, strong, bitter and spicy because of the peppers. I then bit into the pupa. It wasn’t crunchy. It sorta had a thin and chewy outer skin and I could tell there was a soft fleshy part inside of it, I guess that was the pupa insides. It did not taste great. It was bitter in a different way that the soup was. The spiciness of the soup made everything a bit more palatable for some reason.
I took sometime to process all the flavours and textures. I decided I needed to try more of this, that one spoonful of soup and one pupa was not enough to fully experience it all. So, I spooned up three large pupae with some soup and took it all in. It was more of the same, just with a larger concentration of the chewy pupa skin and more of the pupa guts.
I went back to the well about two more times before I decided it was enough of this soup for this time. I had a lot leftover but I didn’t need try any more of this.
Would I order it again? Maybe. Do I regret ordering it? No, not all. It expanded my horizons and that’s never a bad thing.