Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon November 30 2015

Opinion Home | A Cruising Couple's Column

  • A Cruising Couple | November 30, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    6 Unbelievable Foods To Try Throughout Africa

    6 Unbelievable Foods To Try Throughout Africa

    PHOTO: Zanzibar market. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

    Food is an integral part of cultural and ethnic identity. It's what gathers us around the table for celebration, sets our cultural identities apart and keeps us alive. Experiencing new food with locals is one of our favorite parts of travel.

    Around the world, cultures celebrate starkly different types of food culture and behaviors. What's totally normal to a tribe in Africa might seem unfathomable to you. But have you ever considered that your normal is incomprehensible to another?

    In celebration of each other's cultures and unique identities, let's take a look at six unique foods eaten in Africa. These recipes … might tantalize your taste buds.

    1. Mopane

    Mopane worms 

    Photo via Flickr/nh53

    Mopane, named after the tree it hangs on, is a plump caterpillar, usually fried, stirred into a curry or eaten plain. You can find this dish served as a delicacy in restaurants or packed by the bags in rural areas of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. While you may shy away from a nice, succulent larva, Mopane are actually packed with protein and apparently pretty delicious.

    Want to cook some up for yourself? This straightforward recipe will get you started! The tricky part might just be finding the juicy little creatures to begin with.

    2. Chicken Gizzards & Ostrich

    Carnivore Restaurant 

    Photo via Flickr/shankaronline

    The Carnivore, a restaurant located in Nairobi, Kenya, lives up to its name quite accurately. This five-star eatery is a meat-lovers paradise —right down to the zebra-striped chairs.

    You can feast on everything from crocodile to chicken gizzards to ostrich to rabbit. Since its inception in 1980, The Carnivore has seen nearly two million people, including many celebrities. They've ranked twice among the top 50 of the world's best restaurants by Restaurant Magazine. For a set price, you can enjoy an unlimited amount of meat, topped off with dessert and coffee. The best part: a vegetarian menu is offered. How's that for an oxymoron?

    3. Blood

    Coming Home 

    Photo via Flickr/Storm Signal

    The African Bubal Tribe roams along the border between Somalia and Kenya. As an innovative way to combat limited access to nutrients, the tribe began drinking the menstrual blood of their cows. Scientists have found that the nutrients in the blood have prevented several diseases from breaking out through the tribe and have kept them alive. The alleged side effect? (which may actually be a hoax) It causes the mens’ testicles to grow up to 32 inches in diameter due to hormone changes from drinking the blood.

    Meanwhile, in Tanzania and Kenya, certain tribes find vital nutrients in blood from their cattle. By slitting their throat, catching the blood, and sealing up the wound once again, the cows are spared long-term damage. The blood is then used for celebrations or for healing the sick.

    4. Stink Bugs

    Small Stink Bug (Pentatomidae) attracted to light in great numbers 

    Photo via Flickr/Bernie Dupont

    Citizens of many countries in Africa are known to chow down on boiled stink bug. Yes, these bugs give off an awful odor, but they are apparently delicious and scent-free once cooked. If you're getting hungry, there's good news. The UN recently sent a notice encouraging Western countries to eat insects. They gave us a little friendly reminder that there are nearly 1,900 different species of edible insects —all packed with protein and other essential vitamins and minerals.

    5. Termites

    Termite Mound

    Photo via Flickr/naddel

    While you're busy spraying your house and getting it bug-proofed to keep termites out, Ghana is busy trying to keep them in! Termites are a popular dish in this West African country. They are often fried, roasted, or even baked. High in essential oils and protein, these pests are considered quite the delicacy to many.

    6. Ox Testicles

    Afrikansk buffel / African Buffalo 

    Photo via Flickr/åsa Berndtsson

    In many areas of Africa, including Kenya and South Africa, testicles are a delicious way to amp up the testosterone while enjoying a good meal. The food is said to be a great aphrodisiac, and boasts other powerful properties.

    Eating animal testicles seems to be a growing trend, with many European countries getting in on the good eats. Interested in seeing what all the buzz is about? This recently released cookbook entitled "Cooking With Balls" may be just what you need. It features appetizing recipes, like testicle pizza and barbecued testicles.

    We can’t say we have tried it ourselves, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t. Would you try any of these unique foods on your next trip to Africa?

More Africa


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
Experience Alaska With Holland America Line

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships