‘Unconventional’ is a matter of perception as you are all aware. One man’s normal is another man’s weird. Many will not consider the things on this unconventional but I’m sure the majority of you will.
Here we go!
1. Mopane (Mopani) Worms – (Imbrassia belina)
Mopane worms – touted as having 3 times as much protein as beef mopane worms are actually caterpillars not worms. They get their name from hanging out on mopane trees. Even though these are not very popular in main centers in Nigeria, large industries have been created around these worms in southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe .You can find the dry roasted black warms being sold in local village markets in Nigeria. They can be eaten roasted or used in soups and stews. Rumbie of zimbokitchen has a good recipe.
You know how they say everything tastes like chicken? Well alligators do not; they are the most complex tasting animal protein I have ever had. The deliciousness from all that open pit fire roasting, I am nostalgic for some just thinking about it. I remember a particular trip to visit my grandmother; she saw a really big alligator and she was going to pay someone to kill it for her.
Alligator meat is not just eaten in Nigeria, it is a big part of the southern American Cajun food culture.
5th day markets were a big deal in my grandmothers village, almost everything else revolved around the vendor expose. You will always see dried gutted frogs strung on long poles and displayed for sale. It was encourage that the consumer reconstitute the frogs in some war water and salt before use. My grandma would stew them and serve with rice, they were delicious and kind of taste like textured chicken.
4. Winged termite and Crickets
I have memories of collecting these creatures as a kid. They are weirdly attracted to fluorescent lights and often congregate around the lights during nightfall. We would wet the concrete floor with some water and use big brooms to swat the flying termites down; we collect them and roast with some salt. Extremely delicious and crispy.
I also have memories of “hunting” crickets in the farm as kid; the local kids had a way of luring them out of hiding. We would collect them and roast them on sticks. Thinking about it now, it was so much work for such little reward. Roasted crickets are very similar in taste and texture to winged termites. Adaobi of dobby’s signature has an edible winged termite recipe.
My goodness snakes! It was one of the things I was very hesitant to try growing up, they just looked very intimidating. I have memories of seeing freshly killed snakes held up for sale while doing the highway stretch from Lagos to Osun. The day I finally gave in to the pressure and tried it, I had the worst incident and I almost chocked. I promised God if I didn’t die, I would never eat snake again. Yes, it was that traumatic. Snakes are a big part of Nigerian food culture; they are often roasted or stewed to serve.
I will like to proudly mention that I have tasted every single item on this list, yes, my childhood was very interesting 😀
How many of the items listed above have you tried?
We asked this question on instagram.