The 6 legs delights of Burkina Faso
Where can you find the most delicious Edible Insects ? Well, Africa is a pretty good place to encounter a good variety of insects. I lived in Burkina Faso for 6 months and had the chance to try 3 of them that are considered as true delights!
First delight : winged termites
One night, after a heavy rain, I’m wandering through Ouagadougou’s streets, when all of the sudden I am shoved by children running to a street light while carrying some water buckets. Intrigued, I come closer, and there, what a surprise ! Hundreds of winged termites, called Ephemerals, spinning around the weak light of the lamp post and drowning into the children’ water buckets. I ask them what they want to do with those insects…
« We bring them to our moms, and we eat them ! »
Then I ask if I could try the termites, and two hours later, here I go, seating at the table with the roasted Ephemerals in front of me and served with peanut dressing and the local famous corn porridge named « To ». Well, it has been a real delight ! A little bit crunchy at first, then melting under the tongue, giving a taste of grilled bacon !
But watch out, one good first experience doesn’t always lead to another. A few weeks later, one of my friends brought me back some Ephemerals he picked up a couple of days before. I cooked them right away but I only found a rancid taste. I made a conclusion that fresh insect can’t be kept for a long time at 35°C… that was predictable ! How do the locals preserve them ? They dry them in the sun ! This method is also used to dry an other insect very appreciated by the Burkinaba people, the Shea caterpillar !
Second delight : the Shea caterpillar
That was in August that I have picked and tasted the famous Shea caterpillars for the first time! 4 a.m in the morning, no noise in town, the woman who’s hosting me, Nora, wakes me up and shows me a bicycle. I ride it, and here we go in the winding path of the bush, enlightened by the moon! Once we get to the field of Shea trees, Nora shows me entire column of caterpillars going down the trunks and we start picking them up!
Back to the village, Nora kills the caterpillars in a pot. She will keep some to dry them in the sun, and cook the others for lunch with onions and tomatoes (and of course the Maggi cubes that all Africans love to add in their dishes!)
The next day Nora will send the dried caterpillars on the market as many women do. Prices average 2$/kg and people come from far to buy caterpillars and resell them in the capital. The company where I worked, FasoPro, buys directly some dried caterpillars to a group of women, and then transform them and make some packages that they sell in Burkina Faso and abroad.
Third delight: the migratory locust
Last but not least, I’d like to introduce you a famous insect : the migratory locust !
This insect is harvested, fried and packaged in Niger and then sold in the surrounding countries such as Burkina Faso. People love it and it is a bit expensive since the demand exceed the offer! The bigger the locust is, the more people like it ! I even saw packages of locusts legs (only the legs!)
In my opinion, those fried insects are too oily but the taste is quite nice! But I have never tried them freshly cooked in a pan so, if someone has, I would be curious to know how it tastes 🙂