Eat­ing out in style - I’ll have the python please

Let's Talk - - Postbag -

The mouth-wa­ter­ing recipes and in­vi­ta­tions to fine din­ing from some of the lo­cal eater­ies in the March is­sue re­minded me of one mem­o­rable, if some­what dif­fer­ent meal I was in­vited to.

I worked in south east Asia for a num­ber of years and was thus able to en­joy the best of the ex­cel­lent Malaysian and Chi­nese cuisines.

How­ever, one day my Chi­nese fore­man put his head around my of­fice door and said that Pang, our Viet­namese driver, had gone into the jun­gle and caught a very nice python. Would I like to try it?

I replied that I would be ab­so­lutely de­lighted. I was per­haps rather hasty in my en­thu­si­asm but I had my rep­u­ta­tion as ‘that dumb Puteh (white bloke) who would eat any­thing put in front of him’ to up­hold.

I went to the snake-fest with­out any reser­va­tion what­so­ever and, with beer in hand, joined a dozen or so other col­leagues sit­ting cross­legged on the floor. The con­sen­sus of most of those present was that the python tasted like chicken. I gave a hip hooray to that.

Senor snake duly ar­rived and was dished out in four-inch chunks, com­plete with the orig­i­nal rack of ribs. It looked grey. You do not eat snake with a cake fork so, fol­low­ing my fel­low guests, I took hold of a rib in each hand and brought Hiss­ing Sid up to within a cou­ple of inches of eat­ing dis­tance. It even smelled grey.

Just as I was about to take a bite I be­gan to think of what this thing used to do for a liv­ing. I could clearly see a cute, furry lit­tle an­i­mal be­ing squeezed past my face on its way to be­com­ing a tasty snack. My stom­ach im­me­di­ately warned me not to go through with this or it would be in open re­volt.

Not want­ing to wimp out I closed my eyes and sunk my teeth into the un­known. It was tough and chewy and well, tough and chewy. Didn’t I agree, I was asked, that it re­ally did taste like chicken? No, no it didn’t. It tasted like python and on a culinary ta­ble I would put it right up there with choco­late cov­ered snails and gar­lic sand­wiches.

My fore­man then seemed to agree with my opin­ion when he said that the snake was rather tough, the rea­son be­ing that Pang hadn’t pre­pared it in the time hon­oured man­ner.

He’d just caught, killed, gut­ted and skinned it. Seemed about right to me. But no, in or­der to en­hance its tex­ture and flavour, he should have, all those of a del­i­cate con­sti­tu­tion look away now, nailed it to a tree and skinned it alive!

The con­tents of my stom­ach hit the back of my throat at the same time as I reached a patch of sec­ondary jun­gle.

The roars of laugh­ter be­hind me meant that, from now on, I would just be known as ‘that dumb Puteh’. PAT PHILPOTT Gor­leston Nor­folk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.