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Nsenene (Grass Hoppers) – A Local Delicacy in Uganda

In our coverage of Bizzare Foods that people enjoy around the world, today lets look Nsenene, the long horned grasshoppers. Known as Nsenene in the local Kiganda Language, one of the local dialects the most spoken in Uganda, these grasshoppers are a great delicacy enjoyed mostly within the central and south western region of Uganda. The Nsenene has been a delicacy for centuries and among the Baganda Tribe, it is one of the 52 clans.

These grasshoppers are common in the wet seasons – April to May and November to December. This is the time when they are known to swarm. Within these months, you will find people employed to catch and collect these flying insects. During these months, the buzz around Kampala about their capture, sale, distribution, preparation and culinary enjoyment.

Nsenene are flying insects and do like lights. The local people trap these insects using large metal pans and lighting systems and then collected for sale in local markets. Today it is a business for many people in the central region to trap these insects and sell them.

Most of the sales are within Kampala, the capital city of Uganda and Masaka Town. Grasshoppers are also imported from areas as far as Burundi by the Ugandan traders and a great source of income.

How they are Prepared

Nsenene can be prepared in various ways. Most preparations involve boiling or frying these insects. To give a great taste grasshoppers can be fried with onions and salt while others enjoying adding raw onions or garlic cut into small pieces to the already boiled or fried nsenene. Before they are boiled or fried, the legs and wings are plucked off.

For long the local Baganda used to eat these insects and the neighboring tribes could laugh at them! However these days, with the mix-up of tribes in Uganda, you will find that almost all locals including the non Baganda enjoy these grasshoppers. Even the Bazungu Tourists who are free-minded have tasted these grasshoppers. I was surprised to learn from a Mzungu who enjoyed these insects and said there were “crunchy and delicious”.

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