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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?


  1. Okay now THAT is awesome! I wish I had known about this when I was in Vietnam. Shite! I’m dying to get my hands on one of those bloody vodka shots. :)
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..It Ain’t Dirty, It Just Looks That WayMy Profile

    • Hehe, yeah the blood shot was definitely an experience! Not something you can find in your local bar :)

  2. OK, this was interesting, although a bit too much for my stomach! Good God! Poor guest of honor! :) I have never ever tasted anything exotic, I am too boring for that I guess! But I think you are so brave!
    Virag The Escapist mom recently posted..Octoberfest – crazyMy Profile

    • Just think of it as chicken, well maybe better think of it as fish, and it is actually pretty good! :)

  3. Talk about overload on snake. Those gnarled, beige bits look like snake dong.. Wait, do snakes have dongs?
    Nomadic Chick recently posted..Feeling LostMy Profile

    • There was a lot of snake, it was back to chicken the next day for sure :) I am pretty sure snakes have dongs, but I am not going to google that 😉

  4. I dont know if I could bring myself to drink this, even the pictures mae me squirm….. I think it I was already drunk I might not find it as difficult but at the moment I think its a little grose!
    Lassa recently posted..How to recover lost data without paying an expert of buying softwareMy Profile

    • :) I suppose being drunk already would help! But at least you know it’ll get you drunk later

  5. OMG, I gonna share this on my FB. Its freaking awesome. What kind of snakes are they?
    Patambiz recently posted..15 Tips to Keep Cool with Air Conditioning and Not Break the BankMy Profile

    • They told us they were cobras, but I am not quite sure about that, but they were quite big and angry.