Pre-dinner Nibbles

My wife is Zimbabwean so I’ve been exposed to Zimbabwean foods which don’t get near the few tourists who go there. Here are some savoury nibbles which I’ve tried there.


These are Madora, moth caterpillars, collected from trees. They are first boiled and then fried. Available from the deli counter in supermarkets! I can’t describe the taste because it’s not very strong but for me it was the texture which stood out (not very nicely). When tried them I put a whole one in my mouth, as everyone does, and bit on it. The inside burst out just like I’d stamped on one on the ground. After that it was hard going, the outside was like leather and despite lots of chewing I couldn’t actually reduce it much. It was like chewing gum.


These are Ishwa, a type of ant or termite, were another matter – quite yummy. They were a bit crisp and again had an indescribable flavour. Eating them is rather like eating shrimps without peeling them, something which didn’t please my wife. She complained that I had legs and feelers stuck between my teeth and it wasn’t a pleasant sight! I liked to nibble them before dinner with a G&T.


I didn’t get to eat the solitary Mandere. This one landed on our outside table at a restaurant and I was told that they were edible but needed to be boiled. When I asked my wife to put it in her handbag so I could boil it at home she refused what I thought was a quite reasonable request!