Every year, during the rainy season, trillions of midges – small flies – rise from the water of Lake Victoria, in Africa, and fly in giant swarms that are said to be so dense they can suffocate a person.
However, for the people living on the shores of the great lake, they are just a welcome source of protein.
Some bird species migrate to Lake Victoria during the rainy season so they can take advantage of this free feast. The flies create a sort of constantly buzzing living smog and cover every available surface as they break off from their mating ritual. But no matter how many of them are gobbled up by birds and other natural predators, there are always more than enough for the locals. As disgusting as eating flies may seem, the reality is they make up a huge quantity of biomass equivalent with large herds of big game. People living on the shores of Lake Victoria simply can’t ignore the nutritious protein flying all around them, so they catch the flies and cook them as charcoal-black fly burgers.
With the flies literally filling the air, catching them is not a big challenge and requires only rudimentary tools like pots and frying pans. Entire communities take part in the hunt for midges, dampening their pots to make the flies stick and simply flinging them through the air. They are then clamped together to make fly patties, which are cooked like regular burgers. Each patties contains around 500,000 flies, but is up to seven times more nutritious than the average beef burger.
For people who normally have little protein in their diet, fly burgers are a godsend, and in times of famine they can prove lifesavers. Every village has its own fly burger recipe, but no matter how they are cooked, they always go like hot cakes.
Reddit user gaz7527 reportedly tried fly burgers in Mozambique and said they were “pretty much tasteless”. They sound a lot healthier than our fast food burgers, though.