Food: freestyle experiences

A Blog about Food you truly want to read!

In the mood for snake November 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thalounette @ 6:33 pm

Hello guys,

This article is not for the faint-hearted 😀

A friend of mine just came back from a trip to Vietnam, where he spent a few weeks visiting, walking around the place, carrying no more than a rucksack! Oh yes he is very adventurous – and practices martial arts, so don’t mess with him 😀 Anyway, he told me that he experienced something new. Indeed, he went to a restaurant some of his friends had recommended and tried the specialty of this place: the still-beating heart of a snake… Some of you will smile and say ‘oh yes! I would like to try this!’ and some of you (I think I may be part of the second category…) will say ‘Yucky! How did they get this idea?’ and I think that it is the real beauty of those hundreds of cultures: we really don’t eat the same things… And I am sorry to see that most of the time we have preconceived ideas about those different food habits. And yes, I enjoyed the Anthropology classes about cultures, ethnocentrism and the otherness!

Thus, in this country, when you ask for a snake’s heart – my friend gave me all the details, it was a cobra – the cook comes back with an actual living snake and opens its entire ‘body’ with a long knife. Then quickly, he takes the still beating heart and at this point, you take it and you swallow it… Nobody fainted I hope?

It can seem weird when you imagine the situation, especially when you try to get into that person’s shoes. If it actually was you who were supposed to eat this heart, would you do it?

In their culture, eating a raw heart means a lot. Vietnamese tradition has it that it was for the warriors before a fight because it made them strong and invincible and nowadays it is given to old people to give them more energy. Interesting, isn’t it?

Of course I knew that in some countries people eat iguanas, alligators, or turtle eggs and I myself tried grasshoppers when I was living in New Caledonia, but I never could have thought of a raw snake’s heart! And I am sure that in some cultures, my Grandma putting pumpkin jam she makes herself on her toasts every morning would surprise some people. But believe me, it is not bad to try 😀



9 Responses to “In the mood for snake”

  1. Léa Says:

    OOOOooo…. I don’t know if it was a good idea to read this article so early in the morning just after my breakfast….. Yoooooook!! Disgusting……! A snake’s heart still beating to gobble down….. uuuuuuuu….. sorry this is hard for me to digest… Well I couldn’t do it. Even if it made me stronger and invincible, or gave me more energy. I can’t even swallow an oyster during xmas dinner so don’t ask me to try a living heart!! Can find something else to eat to provide me of all that!

    • thalounette Says:

      I’m sorry you came on my blog this early dear… I must have told you the last article was a bit ‘bloody’!
      I was having a debate with the actual friend last week and I was telling him I had eaten weird things and was open-minded, but when he told me about his trip and gave me the details of the snake’s heart story (even if I don’t like snakes, poor snake by the way…), I answered ‘OK, now you will think I am paradoxical but why did you put this thing in your mouth?’ and he laughed 😀

  2. davelecteur Says:

    Haha Léa I agree, I feel a bit queasy now too..
    I remember in Hong Kong seeing a women sitting in the street just skinning snakes (removing their skin). Blood everywhere, nice.
    But a beating heart? I just sounds like such a horrible way for the snake to die!! But you know, it’s more natural I suppose than our mechanical means of producing meat… I’m not the kind of person to refuse to try something, though I’m sure I wouldn’t consider this to be my favourite speciality… It just sounds so… bloody!!
    Thalie you’ve lived in New Caledonia??

    • thalounette Says:

      Wow skinning the snakes on the street must be something to see 😀
      I agree with you David!
      Yes I was born in New Caledonia and left when I was five 😀 And then I lived in Reunion Island!

  3. Brian Says:

    Honestly I would have run out of the place at once, don’t care if it means I’m weak!!
    But no seriously I knew you could eat snake (my grandma tried it in Vietnam or Sri Lanka I think) but a still beating heart, there’s no way I would put that in my mouth.

  4. thalounette Says:

    Brian you coward! I am saying that but I am thinking the same 😀
    Your grandma told me yesterday that snake tasted like chicken when it was cooked!
    In New Caledonia, we ate turtles (don’t throw rocks at me! I know they are sweet animals but I was too young and influenced by my parents :p ) and the different parts of the body tasted differently (I mean some parts tasted like rabbits, some like chicken, etc.) It was really ‘funny’ to find different tastes in one meat!

  5. thalounette Says:

    I think I even have pictures of this special turtle meal that our neighbour cooked for us (it was not long after we moved in New Caledonia – well my parents 😀 )

  6. agathe02 Says:

    during an anthropology lesson we learnt that some cannibals are convinced of getting the powers and qualities of the people they eat. after eating a still-beating heart of a snake you may be able to speak “fourchelangue” (I don’t know the translation in english…)like in Harry Potter, don’t you think so? 🙂

  7. thalounette Says:

    I had heard before about those ‘savages’ or ‘primitive tribes’ who ate the eyes of their enemies to feel the things that cannot be seen for example, or those who ate the brain of the tribe’s chief after the fight to gain his power and his knowledge… Interesting conception of life 😀
    They are like organ donors in fact, but instead of being transplanted, those organs are eaten 😀

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