Travel entails a lot more than wildlife viewing and since food is an integral part of all our lives while traveling many may blend local cuisine in their itineraries’ as an attempt to experience a different culture in the visited country. It could be a full-blown out meal such as luwombo; food prepared in banana leaves or just a snack like the Ugandan sought-after grasshoppers that flock in two seasons. These little beings are extremely delicious and addictive too, to say the least. I find myself anticipating the rainy season knowing these goodies will be available to keep me food company.
GRASSHOPPER SEASONS, HARVEST
If not for global warming effects, the rainy season in Uganda is in April-May and Oct-Nov and the shores of Lake Victoria are usually flocked with swarms of Nsenene – as they are locally known. Harvesting grasshoppers is done at night by putting lights in barrels to lure them in. While they fly, they are attracted to the bright lights that at a certain point blind them leading to their downfall; dwindling right into the barrels. Perhaps in the future, we will invent smarter methods of capturing these flying creatures. For now, each morning the barrels are emptied into sacks and transported to markets.
FROM THE MARKET, INTO THE HOUSE/STOMACH
At the market are different types of buyers- some immediate/final consumers and/or retailers. For the most part vendors resale Nsenene by the roadside, both fresh (uncooked) and cooked. Preparations involve plucking off of legs and wings and trust me when I say this is the hardest part. Imagine picking a hopper, plucking its legs, and wings, and piling them up for sale. I do believe this is the reason they tend to be quite costly for a roadside snack! Cooking preparations may be by boiling, roasting, smoking, or deep-frying seasoning with onions, garlic, green pepper, and salt to taste. Don’t take my word for it, visit and try it yourself then tell me if it’s as delicious as I think.
I must admit however that growing up I did consider all insects, not food! I could have sworn to never have anything to do with grasshoppers because just like bugs, these were considered pests. However, as an adult, I find myself keeping grasshoppers in the freezer for the off-season. These keep me company until the seasons are in full swing, just like now.
When in Uganda, seek out this unique snack and let us know your thoughts.
In the meantime, check out this itinerary featuring the best of Uganda and Kenya.
#grasshoppers #season #insects #food