The Lusaka City Market
By Scott Bowers
What better place to eat bugs than in Africa, I thought as I boarded the plane. After all, human evolution likely was strongly influenced by our ability to take advantage of changing food sources in the African Savannah. Huge termite mounds dot the landscape in Zambia, and it is easy to image early humans digging them up to gather the bounty of juicy bugs!
Mopane Grubs From The Soweto Market
Our friends in Zambia told us about a local specialty of nshima (the Zambian staple that resembles Italian polenta) that is served with caterpillars, but we were unlucky in that we did not run into this dish while we were here. However, in the city market of Lusaka, the bug luck struck again. My bug homing radar led us to a group of ladies selling huge dried grubs from a basket. They were grey and stubby looking, and it cost only 1500 kwacha (30 cents US$) for what must have been close to a quarter pound of the buggers. The locals took a special interest in the goings on of any foreigners, and this time was no exception. The crowd that gathered howled with delight as I bit off half a grub (a good mouthful!) and walked on down the street. The grubs had a pleasant taste combined with a very chewy texture. In some ways, they were similar in taste to that rubbery thing that you find in chicken legs. Anyway, it took close to two minutes of chewing the grub before I was able to swallow it. I have to admit that it was not one of the tastiest bugs I have eaten, but it was good nonetheless. In the grubs defense, however, I suspect that it might be something that needs cooking in order to be really tasty. I gave the rest of the grubs to some children who very gratefully gobbled them up.
Submit Your Own Bug Story