Not for the squeemish...
Trip Start Jun 26, 2009
180Trip End Jun 29, 2010
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As we were back in Hanoi (as a stopover before heading south), we decided to check out Le Mat, a snake village just outside of Hanoi.
We got a cab there and were dropped off outside an open house with lots of snakes in jars! The owners dragged us inside and took us to a large cage with a smaller cage attached. They promptly took a snake out of the larger cage and handed him to Drew! Now having a clue whether the snake was poisonous or not, Drew was reluctant to take said snake! After being reassured that the snake was harmless, Drew took the slippery little sucker. It squirmed a lot which made Drew squirm so he quickly passed it to me to hold long enough for a pic and was then given back to the handlers
After what felt like an eternity, the snake was put back in it's cage and we were moved to the restaurant. We had already decided that we would try snake but when we were offered snake blood we were a bit reluctant (to say the least) to accept!!! We talked it over and decided that we'd probably never get an opportunity to do this again and, as the lady kept saying, it was very good for you! So we reluctantly accepted...
We were the only people in the restaurant (which was beautiful by the way - it was a floating restaurant over a lake, made out of bamboo) which made it all the more suspenseful. A young guy brought a long but relatively skinny snake over to our table and held it by the neck (do snakes have necks?!), holding the head at the same time. Another guy held the end so it was stretched out. The first guy then cut a small slit in the neck and drained the blood into a glass before removing the still beating heart and putting that into another glass. They then gutted the snake before draining the stomach bile into a third glass. At this point, both Drew and I noticed that the snake seemed to still be moving!
We then took a few moments to regroup while them removed the snake and sorted out the "drinks" (ie they added some alcohol to the blood and bile (separately) and put them into shot glasses for us)
The blood shot just tasted like alcohol with a slight aftertaste of blood! As Drew did his, he said he realised as it was going down his throat that something was in his... Yes, it was the snake heart! He said he was glad he hadn't realised/been told as it made it slightly easier to do. We then did the bile which just tasted of tequila. Afterwards, we both had massive adrenaline rushes which, we're told, is due to the snake blood. We are both really glad we did them... It's a weird experience but certainly one we'll remember!
We were then presented with 6 dishes made from the snake (a dry dish made from the bone and mixed with herbs, two spring roll dishes made from the meat, a sauted meat dish, one meat on the bone dish and one from the skin). All were really nice (and not weird after the shots) but my favourite were the spring roll dishes. We polished off the dishes (and celebrated doing it) with a couple of bottles of their best beer!
This was a very weird experience and one that we're very unlikely to do or want to do again! But we would definitely recommend it for those of you who have the opportunity to do it at any point in the future!