Food is one of the most memorable parts of a trip – for all the right reasons, or for some less pleasant experiences. In Africa, you’ll definitely find your fair share of both. Some of the flavors and textures of African food will be unusual and unfamiliar for those new to them. It’s important to try new flavors, but you don’t want one dish to put you off your food for the rest of the trip.
To help you make amazing memories, and avoid some bad tastes, we’ve gathered five African dishes you should probably avoid – unless you’re feeling particularly brave. Check them out:
There are plenty of people who eat insects as food. Indeed, they’re a good source of protein – but that doesn’t mean you should start queueing up to try them. Although the Secret Traveller recommends Uganda as one of the most interesting places to try grasshoppers, they also add they taste like chips – but chips with brains.
You’ll also have to watch people pick the wings off huge bags-full of grasshoppers before you tuck into one – the whole experience just isn’t the most appealing.
From the small and disgusting, to the large and even more disgusting. In Morocco, one of the favourite dishes is boiled sheep’s head. The whole thing is served up – eyes, brain and everything. You’ll see people just grabbing a fork and digging in. But you’ll probably want to run a mile, rather than join them for a taste of this unusual dish.
If you thought the only insects commonly eaten in Africa were grasshoppers, you’d be wrong. According to Tour Town, the Mopane caterpillar, only found in South Africa, is a popular snack. It’s collected from the wild, then pressed and kneaded to get rid of the excess liquid. They then gather loads of the insects and dehydrate them in the sun. We don’t think they’ll be replacing crisps in our diet any time soon.
Enset is a type of bread, popular in Ethiopia. In fact, Andrew Zimmer says they treasure it as a super food. But he adds it’s an acquired taste to say the least. You’re probably wondering why bread has made this list – well, it’s made with the pounded, fermented root ball of a plant buried underground for months for the taste and texture to develop. A lot of time and effort goes into making enset, but you’re better off politely declining a taste.
Found in fast food outlets across Africa, only brave eaters should try this dish – which gets its name as it’s made up of the feet and head of a chicken. The meat is deep-fried in a batter, which you’d think might make it bearable – but no amount of batter can hide what you’re eating. The dish is crunchy and fatty, and is best avoided.
What foods have you tried in Africa? Share your recommendations with us.