Sunday, August 9, 2009

African "delicacies" You Might Want To Try

Have you had any African diet apart from your home country's own? Have you tried any foreign delicacies? Have you thought of eating something way out of your religion or tribe? Well, my answer to most of the questions is a big YES.

African cuisine has never been very popular among the places I have visited on my road trip some years back and after seeing what some people consider delicacies, I can understand why. Poverty and drought push people to find new ways of sustaining themselves. In some places insects are the most nutritious meal available. Here are 5 African foods that can easily turn your stomach inside out:

5. Fried Locusts

The swarms of locusts th
at frequently destroy vast crops are seen as a curse and blessing at the same time. They may compromise hundreds of thousand hectares of fertile land but they sure are crunchy. That’s what Nigerians say, anyway.

Every time a swarm of locusts hits Niger, you can see people everywhere munching on fried locusts like popcorn. Some say that when you see people eating fried locusts, it’s not a sign of famine, for them it’s like eating caviar. The wings are removed, sautéed in a pan, sprinkled with spices and left in the sun, to make them crunchy.

4. Cooked Mopane Worms

The Mopane is a species of moth found in Southern Africa, whose caterpillars are considered a delicacy. They are handpicked by women and children in the wild and either dried in the sun or smoked to give them extra flavor. After they are picked, the worms are pinched at the back and squeezed to get rid of the slimy insides.

The dried Mopane caterpillars are either eaten raw as a nice, crispy snack, or rehydrated and cooked with vegetables and spices. The caterpillars have a yellow color and a taste similar to green tea leaves.

3. Bushmeat

What started as a way to fight famine, has slowly become a new cuisine in countries like Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast or Guinea. Bushmeat is basically fried, grilled or boiled wild animal meat served both in established restaurants and households. In some parts of Ghana, there's never shortage of bushmeat as its the main source of meat for a whole farming community.

You should be careful when trying out bushmeat someday, you could be chewing either a crocodile, snake, rodents, great apes, even cats and dogs. It would interest you to find on the Bushmeat menu in some restaurants any of animals earlier mentioned above... The situation is becoming truly desperate for many wild animals in the countries where Bushmeat is popular especially Ghana and the Ivory Coast, as poaching becomes a very profitable business.

2. Cow Blood

A popular meal in the Masai tribe, cow blood is often mixed with milk, as it is believed that it makes the men stronger. The blood is collected by puncturing the cow’s jugular with an arrow and the hole plugged after enough blood has poured. This can be done once every month, without harming the animal.

The blood clots are separated and the pure blood is mixed with fresh milk and consumed raw. Other cultures mix the cow blood with fresh or sour milk and cook it on an open flame until it thickens, resembling scrambled eggs.My kenyan friends from university really persuaded me into trying this but trust me, I couldn't stand the sight of it. I have tried their staple food, that is Ugali and Chapati but Cow blood is not a thing for me..

1. Goat Head

I love goat meat and I believe everybody loves it. Go to any chopbar in Ghana and youll surely be served with a variety of soups with goat meat in it but there's no restaurant in Ghana that I know of that serves Goat head.

Goat head is served in many upscale restaurants in Nigeria, Congo and most parts Southern Africa. After the goat is beheaded, its head is shaved and burned to remove any stray hairs. It is then chopped into fragmented pieces with an ax and boiled with onions, garlic, tomatoes, ginger, chilies and other seasoning. Yummy, init [sounding British, here]??

People brave enough to try this dish can enjoy traditionally cooked brains, tongue, ears and eyes. The goat’s eyes are usually reserved for the guests of honor, so if you’re lucky enough to find them on your plate…enjoy!

Have you tried any delicacies recently from your trip? Feel free and share them. All comments are welcome.. :))


Abena Opokua said...

In fact... the goat head is the only thing on your list that I have tried.. There is also cow/goat/sheep intestines (called tripe in the US).. I LOVE THAT!

Clue said...

super post! will look out for these things. How about Joseph?

Mac-Jordan Holdbrookes said...

@ Abena: It would you interest you, I had fufu with ground-nut soup with liver and intestines over the weekend at my popular local food joint [chopbar]. Maybe, I should add more to the list.

@ Clue: Sorry I didn't add "joseph" but its cool you brought it up. I haven't had that in ages though but I guess when I get to Keta one of these days, I might be lucky to have some.. Don't know when though but I hope, its soon..

gigi said...

with all these foods i think there should be some kind of limitation to what we eat as human beings. there is soo much our body can contain n i think eatin certain foods affects our body. for example if u kill a goat if the meat is there y eat da head. there's an old say "u r wat u eat" so me i dont agree with all dis foods ppl eat...

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Anonymous said...

im gonna throw up.