Edible, Nutritious Insects Worm Their Way Into Korean Food

Disclaimer: SnackFever products do not contain insect products, whether they are edible or not. (Maybe in the future! 😂)

Speaking of the future, we haven’t seen any Korean snacks that include edible insects, but that might change quite soon. The Korean government is encouraging manufacturers to use insect products, and some companies and restaurants are coming up with different ways to cook with bugs!

In particular, mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers are good sources of nutrition – fewer calories and the same amount of protein at 1/10 the cost of raising animals. Breeding insects is much cheaper and less stressful on the environment, too.

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Edible insects not a completely new idea for Koreans – one of the most well-known Korean street foods is bundaegi, or silkworm pupae. You can also find cans of them at Korean markets!

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But it’s still gross to think about eating insects, right? That’s why in many of the new edible insect foods, you don’t really notice the insects.

Instead of grossing people out, these dishes still look and taste delicious, but they contain edible insect products. Most times, the insects are ground up into a powder and used as a protein-rich substitute for animal fat, or cut into small pieces.

We might have to get used to insects becoming a larger part of our future, as we face an increasing human population and lack of food resources. But that doesn’t mean insects have to taste gross!

Some of the new insect food ideas include:

 

Sundae made with mealworm powder

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The sundae on the left is made with lard, while the sundae on the right is made with a mealworm powder substitute. It smells less and looks considerably more clean.

Sundae is another delicious Korean street food made from stuffed cow or pig intestine. Usually, lard is used in making sundae, but a Korean food manufacturer came up with the idea of using mealworm powder instead. That actually helped get rid of the lard smell, as well as give the sundae a fresher smell and taste (according to some brave people who tried it).

Global Food and Farming Technology Center began distributing this new “Gosoae Sundae” just a few months ago. If we get to try it, we’ll let you know how it tastes!

 

Papillon’s Kitchen

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This is Korea’s first fine dining restaurant and café that features a menu based on edible insect products. Papillon’s Kitchen opened last year in Seoul, and it focuses on providing healthy and sustainable food options but with a fine dining experience.

The Korean Edible Insect Laboratory (KEIL) is the supporting body behind this restaurant, and the food looks pretty darn good! And they have desserts, too!

Rice Croquette

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Mushroom Cream Pasta

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Edible

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Edible is a food-tech startup venture that conducts research in how food is being distributed to people. In particular, they focus on nutrition and environmental sustainability, which includes making edible insects more popular as a food option.

The company has two focuses: Edible Bug manufactures the food products, including energy bars, yanggang (also known as yokan), cookies, and herbal teas.

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Edible first opened their coffee franchise, Edible Coffee, in 2014, and they currently have three locations (2 in Seoul, another in Busan). Their drinks include fresh fruit and vegetable juices, as well as drinks that include honey, mushrooms, and of course, bugs!

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For the upcoming World Environment Day on June 5, Edible is pushing a campaign beginning today to raise awareness by giving out free bug cookies to people who swing by their cafes!

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Learning Korean

These words are pretty difficult, so don’t beat yourself up over not being able to get them down fast!

 

Edible insects: 식용곤충 (Shikyong gonchung)

Protein: 단백질 (Danbaek-jil)

Silkworm pupae: 번데기 (Bundaegi)

Mealworm: 갈색거저리 (Galsaek geojeo lee)

Cricket: 귀뚜라미 (Gwiddu lami)

Grasshopper: 벼메뚜기 (Byeomae ddugi)

 

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