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Snake Village

VIETNAM | Thursday, 25 December 2008 | Views [2860] | Comments [4]

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Christmas has been a lot of fun. Yesterday was an amazing day and one I'm sure I will never forget.

Lyb, Graeme and I went to a nearby hostel (one run by two Aussie guys) and booked a trip to Snake Village. For $15USD you get a trip to a village 20mins outside the city of Hanoi to a snake restaurant where they kill the snake in front of you before they cook it and serve it to you. Not only do you eat the skin and flesh of the snake, but you can also eat the heart and drink the blood and bile.

This is not something I would normally think of as a pleasant experience and snake has never been a meat I have ever craved. However when you're confronted with the idea in a country like Vietnam and you think of it as being a cultural experience, it becomes something too good to pass up. The locals apparently eat plenty of snake and have been for thousands of years, so why not do something so popular within the culture you're trying to experience? For me it is something I will never EVER forget and I must say will probably never do again!

We met at the hostel at 12:30pm and were guided (along with two Aussie girls who were coming along - Rachel and Julia) to our a van and then we were driven to the Snake Village restaurant.

Once there we were shown some snakes (both live and preserved in jars) and then led to where we would be eating. The restaurant it's self is a series of floating huts (made from bamboo and palm leaves) on a very small, brown body of water. Our table was only a foot off the ground and we sat on the floor, which I assume is tradition.

When the handler brought out the first snake everyones reaction was one of shock, disgust and dread for the impending meal. The snake was a cobra and after showing it to us the handlers gutted it quickly, removed the heart and drained out some blood into two big glasses. Everything was then taken away to be prepared and after a few minuets our shots were brought to us. There were three types of shots - one with snake bile, one with snake blood and another with snake blood and the snake heart. Lyb and I had both said we would have a heart, so I got the first one and Lyb the second. After three we threw the mixture of snake blood, VERY strong alcohol and a single snake heart down our throats.

My immediate reaction was one of revulsion but not long after I got a strong sense of relief that it was over. To be honest, the shot didn't taste too bad. We were also brought some wine made with snake penis, and quite frankly I preferred the heart shot! The wine was too strong and very potent. The bile (which is mixed with strong alcohol also) was also much better than the snake wine. Julia and Rachel just had the blood and the bile while Graeme drank none of it (perhaps the most sensible of the group??) Lyb and I were the only ones BRAVE ENOUGH to consume the heart. I think it was quite a bonding experience for us and something we won't soon forget.

After our drinks we were brought a selection of traditional dishes prepared with fresh snake meat. There was snake spring rolls, snake meat wrapped in lotus leaves, deep fried snake meat, fried snake skin, sticky rice with snake oil and snake ribs. Most of the dishes were very delicious and we finished our food quickly. The rest of our few hours in the restaurant were spend talking and getting to know our new friends. It was quite a relaxing afternoon.

It has taken a while to sink in...eating a snake heart is not something you do every day. I feel happy to have stuck to my conviction. I believe that if you're going to eat meat, you should at least be willing to be confronted with the killing of the animal. I am also pleased to have had such a different cultural experience. Besides, I'm sure there are MUCH WORSE types of meat in service station hot dogs and Mc Donalds burgers.


Comments

1

Hoping that this particular cultural experience will lead you to re-evaluate the many beneficial aspects of a good vegetarian meal - perhaps accompanied by a fine red (non-snake) wine!

Take care of yourself,
Much love always...







  antique Rose Dec 26, 2008 5:13 AM

2

Hello, I don't know why but I have found your site when looking for snake wine
( http://www.asiansnakewine.com ). Do you have any more related information? I can't find it.

Thanks.

  kay Dec 26, 2008 5:38 PM

3

"After three we threw the mixture of snake blood, VERY strong alcohol and a single snake heart down our throats."

I hope you didn't get hissed! and fangs for the story.

He! he! he! he!

  Baba Dec 26, 2008 8:29 PM

4

Kay - I'm afraid there is little to no info about snake village on the internet apart from the odd travel blog like this one. It's something you have to find out about when you're in Hanoi. What did you want to know?

  mazystar Dec 27, 2008 4:52 PM

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