South Africa is known for its sour milk, which is often drunk among the Xhosa, Sotho and Zulu people, and is commonly referred to as maas, or amasi. It's a fermented milk that tastes a little like cottage cheese or yoghurt, and is usually eaten with a spoon out of a clay pot. These days however, you can buy it neatly packaged at your local supermarket! It is also popular with Indians who use it to make a cucumber salad served with biryani, or as the main ingredient in raita.
Traditionally, Zulus believe that amasi makes a man strong, healthy and desired. During taboos (e.g. menstruation or when there has been contact with death) the affected person must abstain from amasi. Milk is hardly ever drunk fresh ('green milk'), but it is sometimes used to thin amasi which has gone too thick to be used.
Speaking of sourness, the legendary Umqombothi (Xhosa) is a heavy, mean-smelling beer, made from maize, sorghum, yeast and water. It actually doesn't have a very high alcohol content, but when I tried it into a local shebeen on my Soweto tour I couldn't stop saying 'yeeeurrrghhh!' I mean, I am not a beer lover anyway, but this is nasty stuff! Umqombothi is considerably less expensive than traditional "clear" beer, that is, beer brewed from barley. We also had to drink it out of a recycled milk carton, shared by a few others... which wasn't my cup of tea.. so to speak! But hey it is cheap and gives you a high!
African cuisine has a number of mouth-watering delicacies, which don't involved eating termites or buffalo intestines. Venison, particularly in South Africa, comes in many forms, with the most popular being springbok, kudu, gemsbok, ostrich, warthog, all of which can be eaten as biltong (dried strips of meat, seasoned with spices, similar - but much better than - beef jerky).
The most common thing that will happen to the squeezed worms is that they get dried and end up in a bucket on the market from which they get sold. You can eat the dried worm without a problem. Although the taste is not bad (a mix between vacuum cleaner dust and a peanut) the dry texture can be unpleasant for some. Another way of preparing them is by soaking them in water and later stir-fry them with oil and some garlic. Next time you are in Africa and it is worm-season. Go for it and give it a try. Let me know what you think! I haven't tried it, and I am thinking that I am not going to try it for as long as I don't need to!!
There are other local foods that aren't as adventurous, but better sounding to me, like Bobotie, vetkoek, boerewors and sosaties, just to name a few.
What about you, are you the type that likes to eat and try all those exotic snacks??
Have a Terrific Tuesday!