“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me,
I think I’ll go eat worms.
Big fat juicy worms,
Itty bitty squeensy worms,
look at them wiggle and squirm.
Chop off the head, squeeze out the juice,
and throw the tails away.
Nobody knows that I survive,
on worms three times a day.”–Nursery Rhyme
I am a big believer in trying local foods when you travel. In Peru, I ate a guinea pig. So in Botswana, I must worms.
The mopane worms eat the leaves of mopane trees. These trees are all over Maun, so there’s an abundance of mopane worms in the area. They are not in season right now, so I’ve only seen them dried, stuffed in little clear plastic bags, sold by ladies in the Old Mall.
These worms are quite thick. When they are dead and dried, they are still the size of my thumb. They are boiled in water until softened, and fried with onions and tomatoes. I bought a serving of it today at the local restaurant. It took a lot of courage to pick up a worm and put it in my mouth.
My co-workers cheered and clapped as I chewed and swallowed the mopane. The texture and taste are not so bad. I would describe it as reconstituted dried meat cooked with onions and tomatoes.
Hey, let me know if you want me to bring you a little bag of ’em mopane worms!