Eating Around the World, Eating Out Meat Free

Worms and My Visit to the Botswana Embassy

“They taste like shrimp.” When it comes to food, I very rarely turn my nose up at any delicacy, no matter how different it may be from what I deem “normal.” This was certainly the case when I arrived at the nicely laid out food display while on my journey through the Botswana US Embassy in Washington, DC.

It was the day for the much anticipated yearly event: Cultural Tourism DC‘s Around the World Embassy Tour. On Saturday, May 7, 40 embassies from countries around the globe opened up their doors to DC residents and visitors to learn about and experience the traditions and customs that made up their beloved countries.

Being my first time participating in the event, I made, what I thought was a simple list of 7 embassies that I wanted to visit. As we walked up to the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana, our first embassy of the day, just a few minutes after the event started, the extremely long line we encountered made me quickly realize that my list was, in fact, more ambitious than realistic.

After about an hour-long wait in line, we finally entered the Botswana Embassy. The room we entered after passing through the doors was filled with (people, lots of them) brightly colored and beautifully constructed baskets made intricately from the women of the country.

The baskets on display at the #Botswana Embassy were beautifully intricate. #passportdc #culture #dc

A photo posted by Nicole E. Jackson (@nicoleeatsandtravels) on

While very beautiful, what caught my attention was the food (of course!).

Learning at the #Botswana Embassy here @culturaltourismdc #passportdc! #dc #saturday #culture #travel #learning

A photo posted by Nicole E. Jackson (@nicoleeatsandtravels) on

Especially… the worms! Or phane as this particular worm is called in some parts of Botswana. (Side note: you are probably unaware of the draw I have to not only really good food, but also different, unusual food. If it won’t kill me, is not a reptile, and doesn’t walk on land, then I am in! Be sure to read my first time having escargot on my travel blog.) When I saw them, my eyes lit up. I wanted to know more. How are these eaten? With what? What time of day? Is it a snack? A comfort food? I need to know these things!!

While time and the large crowd only allowed the Embassy representative to give me some background information on the worms, her explanation was perfect for me. Phane is a protein. It can be used at any meal during the day. As breakfast, it can be accompanied with phaleche, a corn meal, creating a meal similar to the southern breakfast I grew up with: grits and eggs. When I heard this, I had a total mind blow! Yes, yes… I get it, I understand! I was so excited to hear this. On weekends, usually Sundays, I treat myself to a bowl of thick, hearty grits with a side of scrambled eggs and a vegan or veggie sausage patty. I was excited to connect something that on first look seemed odd and unusual with a tradition that I grew up with and still experience.

I didn’t have an opportunity to try the phane, but if the opportunity ever presents itself, I’ll be ready. Be sure to check out more pictures of my visit to the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana.

2016 Embassy Tour

2016 Embassy Tour 2016 Embassy Tour

2016 Embassy Tour

2016 Embassy Tour

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