Eating the Mopane Worm

My PCV friend John just posted this photo on Facebook of me and a friend about to eat a Mopane worm, or Gonimbrasia belina.  These little guys are abundant here – rich in protein and in my opinion, worthy of a little more attention.

So how was it? The best way I can describe it is that tastes a bit like a seaweed cheeto with all seaweed and no cheeto flavor. Fortunately in the states I used to buy sheets of seaweed to munch on as a late night snack, so the thought of eating one of these guys wasn’t so repulsive. Of course, a seaweed sheet is just a flattened out plant, and this thing had a head and eyes I had to look deep into before crunching into it. So though they probably won’t be my snack of choice in the future, I’m happy I gave it a whirl.  A lot of people regularly eat them here, they’re actually quite healthy, and why the hell not?  In rural villages people harvest them and make money by selling bags of 15-20 in markets and along the sides of the roads. I haven’t found them as easily in Francistown, but that could be because people have the option of getting their protein from the nearest Wimpy instead.

I used to think this worm was just a worm, and was surprised to find out it’s actually a caterpillar that matures into a moth. So I ate a baby moth. Maybe one day I’ll skip the kid stuff and reach up to catch my next meal flying around my kitchen light bulb.

Wikipedia article on Mopane Worm

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