ONLY in AFRICA: Top 7 Weirdest Foods
Fried termites with a side of mopane worms, anyone? Well, why not a handful of stinkbugs with some bunny chow? Travelling to Africa will introduce you to the weird and wonderful food that you can taste all across the continent.
When visiting the unique and extremely fascinating continent of Africa, you should definitely travel with an open mind and a hungry stomach, and at least try some of the strange but fantastic local delicacies.
From stinky bugs to big caterpillars, we have compiled a list of 7 weird and wonderful foods to get your chops around in Africa, according to Workandvolunteer.
A meal of milk and honey sounds much like the fabled ambrosia which is popular in myths involving Greek gods. An African equivalent may be found in the diet of the Maasai tribe, who live on milk, pap, meat, and blood. Yes, you read that right, a staple part of their diet comes from drinking fresh, warm blood from their cattle.
The cow’s jugular is nicked and a calabash or clay pot is held below the entry point to catch the blood. A mixture of mud or hot ash is then applied to the wound to seal it, and the cows suffer no ill effects. The blood taken is usually mixed with milk and given to the sick to nourish them; it is also drunk by the tribe during special celebrations.
2. Tera Sega (raw meat)
If you’re going to try raw meat while in Ethiopia, but can’t imagine slurping down a still-warm chunk, we’d suggest you enjoy a local dish called Kifo. This dish can be prepared in several ways, but the most popular options are to have it either mitimta (raw beef marinated in spices) or kebbeh (raw beef rolled in a spicy chilli powder and butter). Having the meat lebleb (warmed) is also an option.
Why not just cook the meat? In the past warriors would kill and then eat an animal, rather than spend time labouring to make a camp fire to cook it over, as the chances of enemy soldiers spotting the smoke were quite high. If you’ve never tried this dish before make certain you bring de-worming tablets as this food choice, while high in vitamin B and potassium, can also lead to tape worms.
3. Ackee plant
A traditional fare in West Africa and Jamaica, the Ackee plant was exported from Africa in the mid-17th century, and is still enjoyed today by those who live in Carribbean. It often replaces eggs at breakfast and is delicious served with fried onions and tomatoes. Another name for the Ackee plant is ‘Vegetable Brain’, and although it’s yellow it looks surprisingly like the grey matter in our skulls.
If you’re willing to try it, make sure you do so when it’s properly matured, as immature fruit is toxic due to a compound in it called hypoglycin A. In large quantities, the unripe fruit causes hypoglycemia, basically stopping the liver from processing glucose … which can cause permanent neurological damage or even death! When it is ready for consumption, it splits open on its own and shows three-four large black seeds. It is high in vitamin A, zinc, essential fatty acids, and protein, Travelground shared.
Why bother buying popcorn or sweets if you can snack on termites for free? This one might make your skin crawl, but like with the mopane worms, rural South Africans eat termites as a good source of protein. These little insects are usually eaten raw as tasty snacks after being pulled out of wood that they’ve been feasting on, or are then sold in markets to be brought home and roasted or fried in oil. Also, apparently these insects taste like carrots…but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Also known as muise, vlermuise or pofadder, this dish is lamb’s liver wrapped in caul fat (the fatty membrane surrounding the kidneys) that is barbecued. It is known as little toroise (skilpadjie), mice (muise) and puf adder (pofadder) because of its appearance. Skilpadjies are best served with mealie pap or toasted bread, Sxpatwoman expressed.
This little plant has a very similar appearance to the marrow vegetable, and is actually in the same family genus. It is high in vitamin C and fibre, and can be cooked up in a number of ways. Though quite prickly on the outside, when sliced open the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s slimy, sticky and has lots of seeds.
It has been exported around the world, and in Lousiana, USA it has become a staple ingredient in gumbo dishes. If you’re interested in trying it, know that it can be added to almost anything. Eat it in stew, chowder, fry it with eggs, or dry it for a day or two before frying and flavouring it with spices.
7. Mopane Worms
|Forget crisps or chocolate, these little guys are actually a popular snacking food in Zimbabwe, a staple food in rural areas and a delicacy in some cities in Africa. Though it may be stomach-churning to imagine yourself chowing down on a crunchy worm between your meals, plenty of people find them to be very tasty, and they can even be nutritious. The mopane worm is actually a caterpillar, and if left to its own devices, will turn into a rather pretty looking moth. The mopane worm is plucked from trees and bushes and given a squeeze to get rid of the guts, before being boiled up with ingredients such as tomatoes and garlic, see it’s not that bad! The mopane worms can also be given a quick fry, and eaten between meals – so soon you could be munching on these worms as a snack…Cadbury who?|
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