OK, so no one really HAS to try these, but they darn near jumped off the shelf at my favorite Asian market a couple weeks ago, so I figured I had a duty to try them... so you don't have to.
Why they bother putting in the salt, ginger and MSG I will never understand. They did not have any kind of impact on taste. I think they were just a lure to make you think that they may not be completely awful.
I will say that what you see on the label is exactly what you find in the can. A disgusting pile of silkworm pupae. Only these look like they are swimming in raw sewage. They smelled like it too.
At this stage I was really beginning to wonder if I was in over my head. They had a very spongy texture as I picked one up, just how a live caterpillar feels but less, shall we say, full.
I had opened the can, so I decided I had to finish the job. I plopped one down into a bowl for closer inspection. Even out of their liquid they did not get any more appealing to look at or smell. Imagine the worst smelling canned vegetable you have ever opened and then imagine they had been open on your counter for a few days, that is what these smell like.
The moment of truth had arrived, I brought in my horrified wife to take some action shots and I think she captured my reaction perfectly.
It was absolutely horrifying, it tasted like crunchy feet, not that I know what feet taste like. The worst part was the squirt of liquid that came out when I bit into it. If you have ever had Chewels gum, or its follow up Freshen up you know the experience, but not the flavor. Sadly, I was not done with one. I had read that these were sometimes served as a snack after being fried and lightly salted so I had to give the cooked product a try. In a fascinating turn of events they scooted around in the fryer as they cooked, propelled by a jet of steam pouring out of one end.
In the end they sure didn't look any tastier than they did out of the can. And they really didn't taste any better either. They were a touch more palatable, and far less mushy, but still gross.
Finally, the remainder of the can wound up right where it belongs, in the garbage disposal. This is one experiment I don't need to revisit any time soon. And please, let me try this one for you.
Any non-thoroughly disgusting suggestions for future articles would be much appreciated.
This post was written by Mark Strong.