|Edible worms. I got 3 sticks for 600 Naira.|
On my way back from a recent trip to the east along the Delta – Benin expressway, i came across an edible worm seller. You should have seen the way i jumped down from the car i was in to purchase it from the roadside seller.
My very first encounter with this edible worm started a few decades ago when my grandma asked me to accompany her to the backyard in the village to fetch firewood for cooking. She wanted to teach her grand daughter who lived in the city some basic skills she felt she’d need. Off we went into the bush at the backyard to pick up wood. I remember the cool village breeze sweeping through my face early that morning. I had always loved adventures and doing practical things from a very young age so going off to get firewood was extremely exciting for me. She had lots of trees planted at the backyard especially palm trees which she harvested at the right time for palm oil so it was quite easy to find wood scattered around especially from the dead or felled palm trees. With the sharp axe she gripped firmly in her palm, she chopped the wood one at a time into smaller pieces and spilling out of a part of one of the logs of wood were edible maggots….lots of it.
It was a sight to behold. We picked up the squirmy maggots and took them home in a little plastic bag. Back in the house, she roasted it over the bare fire attached to thin sticks with lots of pepper and salt. It was really tasty and new, i guess that’s why the memory stuck like glue. Some people eat it raw but i personally prefer it roasted. If you love “Roundabout (intestine)”, you’d love Edible worms.
It is commonly known as edible maggots. it’s yellowish in colour and sometimes white. It’s quite rare to find in the city but if you really want to get it, you could seek the services of any local palm wine tapper around you. They are very skilled in detecting trees with good wine and trees infested with Larvae and they’d readily get it for you at a price.
The Palm Tree Beetle Larva (Rhynchophorus phoenicis) is a tasty delicacy enjoyed by most indigenous people living in places where palm trees (oil, raphia and coconut)are found or cultivated. It goes by different names in regions where it’s consumed. In the Niger Delta area and Eastern States of Nigeria, this larva is often a cherished delicacy. In fact, it is usually hawked along major roads and markets in Edo and Delta States of Nigeria.In Sapele, it is called known as edible worm or maggot. In Warri, it is known as “diet”. In Benin, it’s called “orhu”, the Esans (Edo) call it “okhin”, The Ibibios from Akwa Ibom call it “nten”, the Igbos from the South Eastern part of Nigeria call it “eruru” or “akwangwo” or “nza”, the Idomas from Benue state call it “eko-ali”, the Isoko from Delta state call it odo, the Itsekiris from Delta state call it “ikolo”, the Urhobos also from Delta call it edon, the Yorubas from the South Western part of Nigeria call it “awon” or “ekuku” or “ipa”.
How it is prepared and consumed
It is usually consumed either raw, boiled, fried, smoked and sometimes used in the preparation of stews and soups, as part of a meal or as a complete meal.
To prepare, the larvae is washed and attached to a skewer and a little salt and pepper is sprinkled all over the maggots. It’s then grilled for a few minutes until it is properly cooked. A bite of edible maggots is really juicy. Tastes like Torzo or cow Intestines (roundabout)
Looking for another weird food eaten in Nigeria? Check out Edible winged termites “Aku, Esunsun, Shinge”