Those Crunchy – Fried Nsenene – Grasshoppers are a Ugandan Delicacy
Ugandans love those crispy fried Grasshopper Critters during the Rainy Seasons
Nsenene – Grasshoppers are a Ugandan Delicacy, what is called Grasshoppers here are actually Bush Crickets, no matter what you call them – grasshoppers, bush crickets, or Nsenene in Luganda – they are a real treat for Ugandans during the Rainy Seasons.
You will not find Nsenene on the Menu at most restaurants, but in Ugandan pubs, they can be had and of course, you will need some beer or waragi (Local Gin) to flush them down.
Now, you can even find them packaged on the shelves of grocery stores, including in convenient cans at about 2 USD each. Nsenene- Grasshoppers are an excellent source of protein and scientist predict that we will all be eating insects in one form or another in the future.
Every day during the rainy season you will find roadside vendors with plastic tubs selling their harvest, the cry of Nsenene can be heard in most neighborhoods as vendors bring them to your doorstep.
When there are power outages prices go up since in today’s commercialized Grasshopper world lights are used to attract the grasshoppers and they are easily trapped.
Those who frequents the small pubs and bars like to snack on a few of them and wash it down with a Ugandan Beer are a bit dismayed when there is a shortage of them since the rainy seasons are short enough, meaning that grasshoppers are available for just a few months of the years.
The discerning grasshopper devotee still finds his daily fill even on the last day of one of our rainy seasons and a few days beyond.
Ashes from charcoal to assist in pulling off the wings and to keep your fingers from becoming slick. There is no slaughtering process, just pull the wings and feet using charcoals dust so that your fingers do not become oily, then fry them up and the feast is about to begin.
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 up shaking his mumbling – Muzungu.
There are many Westerners – Bazungu (Plural Luganda-Muzungu singular) 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 roasted to death along with onions, some tomatoes 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 unpleasant like Mukene (small dried Silverfish).
I do not criticize Ugandans for eating them, that is their culture and tradition. I sometimes joke and say “you are eating Du Dus – insects (White Ants are another delicacy here). Even in the West Insects are now being served in some restaurants and scientists are researching how we can use insects as a protein substitute for meat, fish, and poultry.
Ugandans in the central region of the country, love their Nsenene – it is a part of culture and tradition, even the little ones help in plucking the wings and legs off of the mostly live 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? Since what is served is not a snack, the plate is filled and not a dessert plate but a dinner plate filled with those critters.
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 – and it is the Nsenene Season – Remember that Nsenene – Grasshoppers are a Ugandan Delicacy, just try a few, have a picture taken while you eat them and post it on Facebook showing your friends how daring you are, not really millions of Ugandans love Nsenene – Grasshoppers.
If you are visiting during the Rainy Seasons, remember that Nsenene – Grasshoppers are a Ugandan Delicacy and we can arrange a tasting time for you.