Eating Snake in Le Mat, Hanoi Style
The three Brits we had met on our flight to Hanoi had heard of a snake village called Le Mat; and it wasn’t too difficult to sell me the idea of trying some snake. I mean all you have to say to me, is that there is this weird local dish made from some animal I haven’t eaten yet, and you got me. I always love to try local dishes, especially if they are made from weird animals. Yes I am a carnivore.
Enjoying our snake meal
Our taxi driver clearly had no idea where the place was, even though our contact at the hostel had said this was a well-known place. Eventually we arrived at the right area, but our driver still had no glue, so we asked some locals on the street if they knew where there might be any snake restaurants; eventually we found one.
We stepped into the lobby and then we instantly took a step back as they brought in the bags with the snakes. Especially after we were told these were cobras (a notion of which I am skeptical about, but for me it was about eating snake). After we had chosen our snake we were escorted into a room upstairs. There was no need for a menu; this was going to be an all snake feast.
The snake was brought in, and while the handlers seemed to know what they were doing, we all kept our distance from the obviously pissed off reptilian. They then proceeded to cut open the legless lizard and rip out the beating heart. And while this might sound macabre, it was actually a pretty quick process.
The snake heart, once removed, keeps beating for minutes afterwards. And the guest of honour gets to down the snake heart in a shot. We gave this honour to the guy whose idea this whole thing had been, I mean he was the reason we were here; and he downed it like a champ.
Drinking the snake heart shot
After removing the heart, blood is drained from the snake. The blood is then mixed with vodka, creating a fairly exotic shot you won’t be able to order in your local bar; or if you are able to order it in your local bar, your local bar is pretty awesome! The snake blood vodka isn’t actually too bad, if you are not squeamish about blood that is, but it will leave an an irony aftertaste in your mouth.
The snake blood shot with Hanoi vodka of course
I’ve heard that they sometimes also do snake bile shots. This time they didn’t, which I am quite thankful about. I wasn’t too keen on trying out that one.
After this they took the snake downstairs to be prepared into an eight course meal for us, which then included:
- Snake soup for starter, pretty much like chicken soup
- Minced snake
- Rice boiled in snake broth
- Deep fried snake
- Snake wrapped in a leaf, really good
- Tiny snake spring rolls
- Snake soup with big chunks of snake
- Snake crackers
Snake soup, pretty similiar to chicken soup
Various dishes from the snake
Sort of snake spring rolls
snake wrapped in a leaf, really good!
I don't know what this is, but it was like a prawn cracker made of snake
And before you ask, no, it didn’t taste like chicken that much! But most of it was actually pretty good, I wouldn’t mind eating snake more often!
Have you tried snake, did you like it? Any other local dishes made of exotic animals you’ve tried?