Fancy a feed? Grab yourself some grubs...

While you munch on chips and peanuts while watching your favourite summer sport on television, there are others in Auckland who could be snacking on beondegi - silkworm pupae.

It is a popular snack in South Korea, where street vendors sell them by the cupful.

In parts of China the "pre-formed" insect is added alive and squirming to steaming hot pots to be eaten as part of a soup.

Immigrant Korean housewife Juliana Kim said that as local Korean grocery shops started stocking the canned variety, the snack was growing in popularity with many local Koreans.

"Many Koreans, including my New Zealand-born son, just love beondegi," Mrs Kim said.

"But I think many Kiwis still find it a little bit of a Fear Factor food and my son refuses to let me add it to his lunch box because he says friends will be shocked."

Korean grocery shops, such as New Mart on Queen St, sell cans of silkworm pupae for about $2.50.

Mrs Kim said the pupae needed to be boiled, washed and then cooked - the best method was frying with seasoning to taste.

Her husband loves to eat beondegi with his soju (Korean rice wine); she said crispy fried silkworm pupae goes down well with any white wine.

- Lincoln Tan
HERALD VERDICT

The smell of the silkworm pupae slowly crept up on me.

At first I thought it was the studio but then I noticed the peeled-back lid on the can of grubs.

"Ugh! Is that smell coming from those things?" I asked, not really wanting to know the answer.

"Nah, someone just farted," the photographer said.

I wasn't laughing - the joke was on me.

The can looked innocent enough from a distance and someone not looking too closely could easily have mistaken it for an odd brand of tuna.

The centimetre by half-centimetre pupae sat in a brown liquid which, quite frankly, stank.

I held the can close to my face and the unique odour filled my nostrils.

It smelt like fresh, dirty, fishy compost.

I could fit about six of the light brown insects - legs and heads still attached - on my teaspoon. A perfect mouthful.

With my eyes squeezed tightly shut, I quickly shoved them in.

I tried to chew, but when some unknown juice squirted on my tongue it was the end of the game. The taste of dirt was overwhelming.

I spat them out and a little of the juice dripped on my shirt; a white shirt was not a wise wardrobe option and all I could smell for the rest of the night was fresh, dirty, fishy compost.

The professionally prepared grubs' odour was much more pleasant.

It is very hard to hide partially developed insects no matter how you serve them and even though the chef had created a beautiful and colourful dish, it was still pretty obvious what they were.

Being able to hide the grubs beneath the pickled vegetables helped and this time I was able to actually chew the critters.

It was not great. They just felt and tasted like gritty dirt which got stuck in the cracks of my teeth so I would be enjoying their flavour hours later.

I would not recommend these from the can or cooked - eating insects should be left to the birds.

- Amelia Wade
KIWIFIED RECIPE

Crunchy silkworm pupae salad.

SkyCity executive sous chef Tim Plowman made a salad of pickled vegetables, ginger, mango and coriander, with chilli and garlic-seasoned pupae.