Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vietnam, Hanoi: A Cupful of Cobra

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Just to be clear, this post is about eating a cobra in Vietnam. If you find this idea distasteful, don't continue reading.

I tried to find a partner or two for this meal throughout my stay in Hanoi (remember, I took two cooking classes!), but when I got to the part about drinking fresh cobra blood and bile, people would slowly start to drift away. However, as you can see from the menu above, the people of Le Mat village, about a $10 taxi ride from the Old Quarter, take their cobra meat seriously. Eleven courses from one snake. Cost: 1.2 million dong, or sixty dollars.

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First, the snake is selected and killed in front of you.

It is then bled, and the blood, and also bile, mixed with Vietnamese hooch.

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Diners are then led upstairs to the dining area, and shortly, the first course, snake soup, arrives. It was savory and quite tasty!

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The next three courses, clockwise from left, spring rolls, fried snake, and the "lot" leaves, came in a hurry. These were all good, but the simple fried snake balls was the best.

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Soft fried snake skin, with bok choi:

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Rare of chitterling and liver is the organ meat--not joking, tasted a lot like chicken organ meat:

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The stewed snake was terrible, but I put that down to the "medicanal leaves":

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I guess this was the snake "pied", but it was some snake skin mixed in with sticky rice.

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And finally, snake gruel. I had eaten so much by this point (by the way, one cobra served this way could easily serve four), I didn't taste any snake in this at all.

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And that's one off the bucket list. Also, the last post about my vacation in Vietnam.

Blog note: I have now used over 98% of my free photo sharing storage at Photobucket. Any suggestions for another free hosting site? Let me know.


Max Diaz said...

Nice posts, Steve. I suggest imgur for free picture and album hosting.

조안나 said...

I have nothing against cobra in any form. A friend of mine did this in Vietnam a few years ago. He was very proud of his accomplishment, which included doing a shot of alchohol with the beating heart still inside... but a few days later he didnt feel very well. I guess it could have been anything, but he had been told by many (westerners) people not to eat the raw snake/ blood because he'd get sick.
How do you feel?

Tuttle said...

Hi guys, thanks for your input--JA, it seems like the raw heart thing is a no-good-nik these days, but it was in the "chitterling liver" dish. Everyone I read about with the raw had it at least three years ago ... still, it's a bucket list item done!

Max, I'm looking at it. Seems to be more into themselves than into sharing though ...