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 😀