Zimbabwe: Eating Mopane Worms

Mopane is a woodland plant that covers most of the savanna in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and it’s the only plant that is eaten by Mopane Worm, a large caterpillar of a giant Emperor moth. Mopane worms are a local delicacy and are highly prized for their taste and nutritional content. The worms are picked up and then dried and are later eaten either raw or cooked with peppers and onions and spices. Naturally, I tried both and heroically ate a full plate of them – they are quite delicious and somewhat reminiscent of cured meat. Many worms still have mopane leaves inside them, that has a distinct tea leaf taste. They are extremely nutritious with very high protein and very low fat content and and only 3kg of mopane leaves can produce 1kg of worms (while it takes 10kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef). Now question – is this a vegetarian dish?