Those aren't berries!

This past weekend we were driving down the highway and I saw some people selling berries. We had bought some really nice raspberries on previous excursions so I was happy to see another opportunity for it.


But as we stopped the car and the boy brought over his bowl, I realized that those weren't berries he was selling - they were bugs! They look like fried flying termites, but I don't know for sure. It would have been fun to try them, but somehow my brain was on berry mode, and not ready to switch to insect eating mode.


I am told that fried insects are actually quite tasty and a critical source of protein when crops fail. Unfortunately, many Malawians starve instead of eating them. What would you do?

4 Response to Those aren't berries!

  1. Virginia says:

    Quite surprised you didn't try the bugs...always thought you had a bit of adventure in you :)

  2. Zach says:

    I'd heard about eating fried ants for some months now, and so when I came across a fried-ant seller in the Lilongwe old town market last week I sampled just one.

    The taste was surprisingly ok - somewhat buttery - more like a burned piece of popcorn in texture, but it didn't have a very strong flavor at all. I wasn't exited enough about it to pay 10 kwacha for a bowl of them, but it was worth trying. Next time you should go for it!

  3. erin says:

    "tasty" is a very realtive term.....

    They're called Ngumbi, and yes, they're flying termites. Malawians usually eat the flying ones - young queens and kings who have just left the hive to start new hives. When hunger's really bad, they'll eat the soldiers, but those are alot more bitter tasting. Or so I'm told...I've only had the winged ones, and those were a bit bitter. Maybe my host was using different oil than Zach's vendor?

  4. Mike says:

    Gosh now I feel really lame for not trying them. Virgie calls me a wimp, and everyone else is like - 'oh yeah eaten those'. But erin you are right - oil makes all of the difference and some of the oil here - whew, well lets just say it causes trouble.

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