Ugandans love those crunchy Critters called Nsenene
Grasshoppers (actually Bush Cricket) are a Ugandan Delicacy
It is December and the rains have lingered a bit longer than normal and Nsenene (grasshoppers) are still available to the discerning shopper in Uganda – prices are up since we have had quite a few power outages in Uganda and lights are used to attract the grasshoppers (they are actually Bush Crickets – most could not tell the difference) and with no lights – no grasshoppers – those who frequent the small pubs and bars like to snack on a few of them and wash it down with Nile, Bell, Club or Moonberg – to their dismay there is a shortage of grasshoppers and the price has increased much like everything else in Uganda
The discerning grasshopper gourmet still finds his daily fill even on the last day of 2011- takes them home and yes most are still alive. Ashes from charcoal are use to assist in pulling off the wings and to keep the fingers from becoming slick – there is no slaughtering process, just pull the wings and feet- hmmm…oh well. The first time I encountered grasshoppers was back in the early 90’s when I saw a man coming down a path I was going up, I thought he had plastic bags with French Beans in them…to my amazement they were moving grasshopper…I told him no thanks and he walked on shaking his head mumbling – Muzungu.
There are many Westerners – Muzungus – who like Nsenene – Grasshoppers – however I am not a convert to the fine art of eating crunchy critters. They are prepared in a frying pan or pot with a little oil – they actually contain quite a bit themselves and then are roasted along with onions, some tomatoes at times and in a short time they are ready for consumption – they are eaten hot or cold – and you need at least a soda to flush them down (some are driven to drink something a bit stronger), I am told that they taste like crispy chicken skin – the smell of them cooking is tolerable and not too bad.
I do not criticize Ugandans for eating them – that is there culture and tradition – I sometimes joke and say “you are eating Du Dus – insects – fortunately they have not acquired a taste for many other insects. Ugandans in the central region love their Nsenene – it is a part of their culture and tradition and even the little ones assist in plucking the wings and legs off of the grasshoppers – it becomes a family affair – after years of being in Uganda I am stilled amazed by it.
When it comes down to eating the so called snack – in Uganda I look at what is on the plate and I always think – is this their last meal on earth – snack my foot – the plate is filled high and to the rim, and not a dessert plate but a dinner plate filled with those critters that I refuse- maybe in 2012 – I should try them…but then on second thought with my straight laced Germanic upbringing…I don’t think so…but if you are coming to visit Uganda– and it is the season of Nsenene – I will have a plate for you….from Kampala…the Nsenene capital of the world….jon
If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway?, African Journeys