Worms a delicacy in Zimbabwe

Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi writes: "In Zimbabwe as well as most parts of southern Africa, mopane worms are a staple part of the diet in rural areas and are considered a delicacy in the cities." [AP]


  1. And they are not bad, to me they were very similar to shrimp or seafood in taste. Then again, I had them cooked in a tomato sauce, so they might taste different according to how they are prepared.

  2. The AP guy has an African name, but he’s still an AP guy, and I am skeptical about the country’s poverty food being the city’s delicacy.  It would be like saying chitlins is a delicacy all sophisticated Americans enjoy.

  3. In ’92 I was training a group of technicians from all over Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe.  We went to a barbecue one night, and at the end of the serving line, these were piled in a bowl.  They were grilled to a dark brown, so I thought they were sausages. I put several on my plate.  When I sat down, I noticed that none of the guys from Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, or Sierra Leone had any, just the guys from Zimbabwe.  I asked what they were, and the locals laughed and told me.  As the lead trainer (and only American) of the group, I couldn’t refuse, so I ate them all.  As expected, they were crunchy on the outside and gooshy on the inside.

    1. . . . gooshy. Like, squirts unknown fluid into your mouth gooshy? What other food can you compare the consistency to?

  4. Arthropods are the food of the future. They’re abundant in nature, easily farmed, high in protein. We already eat lobster and shrimp. We color our food red with Cochineal bug fluids.

  5. I was in Zimbabwe last year and indeed they are a local … delicacy seems too strong a word, but locals seem to like them Ours were dried. There were some Chinese tourists nearby and THEY were looking at the Mopani a bit skeptically so I decided what the hell and popped it in my mouth. It was a bit like jerky and I was able to keep up that illusion till I got to the end and there were…bits left over. Not the worst think I’ve eaten. 

  6. I grew up in Botswana and used to eat Mopane worms when they were in season. People put tarps out underneath trees and would whack the branches with long sticks to get the caterpillars to fall off. Then they would boil and dry them in the sun, and add salt or hot sauce before chowing down. 

    Gushy is no good though. They should be crunchy all the way through like a cheeto. These weren’t exactly considered a delicacy when I was around in the early 90s  but maybe Gaborone has a fresh new gastropub scene and the hipsters have figured out how good they taste with Chibuku. 

  7. Chibuku – the dense beer of sorghum and corn – was one of the vilest things I have ever drank, but in Lusaka Zambia where I lived it was popular and cheap.   Inswa (fried flying ants or termites) are also a seasonal delicacy and are pretty good, sort of like popcorn, and high in protein.

    1. No joke. “Shake-shake” is just plain NASTY. Still has the unfiltered corn mush in it, so you had to shake it up to make it into a drinkable suspension.

      Trying it once was plenty. Mopane worms were far preferable.

  8. I have eaten dried mopani worm in Zimbabwe, along with Chibuku.  To my mind, Mopani tasted like a cross between dried mushroom, dirt and wood; Chibuku like mildly alcoholic spittle.  mmm….

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