Snakes on a plate: Viet­nam’s coiled cui­sine

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Yên Bái, Viet­nam - With their meat served up in a wide ar­ray of dishes and blood added to rice wine, snakes make a re­put­edly sat­is­fy­ing - and nour­ish­ing - meal in Viet­nam.

Caught in the jun­gles of the north of the coun­try, snake flesh is tra­di­tion­ally be­lieved to help with cool­ing over­heated body tem­per­a­tures, re­liev­ing headaches and eas­ing di­ges­tion.

Restau­rants will cook it steamed or fried with lemon­grass and chilli and serve it with a rice wine mixed with snake blood, said chef Dinh Tien Dung, who works at a restau­rant in Yen Bai prov­ince three hours north­west of the cap­i­tal Hanoi.

“We make use of ev­ery part of the snake ex­cept its head and its scales,” said the 32 year old.

Lo­cals be­lieve that only men over 50 should drink snake wine, as younger males are likely to ex­pe­ri­ence ‘back­ache or im­po­tence’, said restau­rant owner Duong Duc Doc.

As for its flesh, the ben­e­fits to eat­ing it are nu­mer­ous, said snake-catcher Dang Quoc Khanh, a 35 year old who has been trap­ping ser­pents in the jun­gle since he was a young boy. “Snake meat is a very good food,” he said, “It’s de­li­cious, good for your health and good for your bones.”

But wildlife ex­pert Ioana Dun­gler from Four Paws In­ter­na­tional said killing wild snakes and dis­turb­ing the jun­gles’ ecosys­tem is un­nec­es­sary as global meat pro­duc­tion should be sufficient. “The whole process of th­ese an­i­mals end­ing on a plate or in a drink is very painful... and it’s done for pur­poses that are not jus­ti­fied,” Dun­gler said.

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