If you want to try eating snake in Vietnam, there's one place to head – Le Mat snake village near Hanoi. The restaurants here specialise in the art of serving snake in an elaborate theatrical show. Feeling brave enough? Here's what to expect.
When the man bringing your meal to the table is missing most of his fingers and the main ingredient is not only still alive but also long and writhing and – hang on, is that a cobra? Well, that’s when you know this is no ordinary dining experience. Eating at one of Hanoi’s snake restaurants is as much a theatrical performance as a meal out.
The decor is way over the top. From a grungy side-street you enter a world of exuberant woodwork with mother-of-pearl inlay glowing in the lantern light. Bonsai plants are scattered artfully while off to the side glass jars containing snake wine hint at what’s to come.
The Vietnamese say it contains a stimulant and that the meat is an aphrodisiac. The jury’s out on both counts, however, because of the copious amounts of alcohol everyone consumes. By way of an aperitif you get two small glasses of rice wine, one blood red, the other an almost fluorescent, bile-ish green… which is in fact exactly what they are.
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