Inswa: Zambian Food Insects You Must Try

Inswa are a type of flying insects which come out during the rainy season. They are eaten as food in Zambia and are part of the Zambian cuisine. They usually come out in the night in the rainy season and they usually get attracted by light. You can find them flying around a big light bulb or lamp. Inswa in English can be called flying termites.

Not all types of these flying insects are edible though. They are certain smaller ones which are called “Nakapelele that are similar to Inswa but are a bit smaller in size and grey-ish. The real Inswa is brown and has bigger wings. They don’t exactly fly high and that is why they are easy to catch and collect. You can actually collect buckets and buckets of inswa for your home consumption and even for sell.

How to Collect Inswa

Its very easy to catch Inswa as they fly very low. All you need to do is create a trap by putting a very bright light bulb or any source and allow them to gather around it. You can also put open basins filled with water and they will be dropping in there and failing to swim out of the water. Make sure your basins have a large opening.

How to Prepare 

  • Rinse them away from the basin water that you used to collect them
  • Rinse them again in clean water
  • Dry them for a while in the sun on a large tray or sack
  • Using low heat on a dry pan, start to fry them until dry.
  • Remove from heat and then remove their wings off
  • Add some salt and fry them with medium heat, until their shiny color disappears
  • Ready to serve
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You can enjoy them as a snack or serve alongside nshima.

During the rainy season, Inswa are a very common commodity to see being sold on the streets and in local markets. Note that some people may be allergic to this dish so its not for everyone. However, for those that are not and they like it, it is a very delicious dish.

Inswa Zambia