Grilled, fried or stewed: Eateries in Singapore serving up silkworms without approval

2 months ago 41

SINGAPORE: The sale of insects for consumption has not yet been approved in Singapore, but some eateries are already serving up dishes with creepy-crawlies. 

A check online and at food establishments found several Chinese and Korean restaurants here selling silkworm pupae – usually grilled, fried or stewed in soups.

Chuan Chuan Le, a Chinese restaurant in Jalan Besar specialising in grilled skewers, put up a post on its Facebook page last month introducing two of its new dishes: Stir-fried silkworms and grilled silkworms.

Silkworms were also on the menu at Ode to Joy Dining, a coffee shop stall in Midview City selling grilled food and mala xiang guo, a spicy, tongue-numbing stir-fry of vegetables and meats.

Another grilled skewers restaurant, Tang Men Chuan Chuan in Orchard Plaza, offered chilli-fried silkworms at S$28.80 (US$21.70) for order on food delivery platforms. 

The sale of silkworm pupae and other insect products for consumption is currently not allowed, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in response to CNA queries.

"Members of the public who come across illegal sales of insects or insect products for food should report to SFA via the online feedback form, which we will investigate," said the agency's spokesperson.

When CNA visited Chuan Chuan Le last Thursday (Mar 23) afternoon, the silkworm dishes were not listed on the menu. But employees confirmed that they were available for order. 

The employees claimed that silkworms were allowed to be sold as food in Singapore, but said they did not know where the pupae were imported from.

"There are grilled ones and stir-fried ones. The grilled ones come in a stick of four, and the stir-fried ones are mixed with chilli and other spices," an employee said.

Each skewer of grilled silkworms costs S$2 and the stir-fried version costs S$16. Both dishes sell "pretty well", she said.

CNA also visited Ode to Joy Dining, which offers grilled or stir-fried silkworms.

The eatery started serving silkworms on Mar 8, and the grilled version is especially popular, an employee said. 

CNA successfully ordered a skewer of four grilled silkworms for S$5.

A plate of stir-fried silkworms costs S$19.80, and both dishes are also available for takeaway.

In response to questions about whether it was legal to serve ...

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