Eating Cobra in Viet Nam
This story is featured for the month of February because of the legendary qualities of eating cobra.
Outside of Hanoi is an area called Le Mat or Cobra Village. In this area, you will find a number of restaurants which specialize in live cobra dinners. The cobra is supposedly the Vietnamese answer to Viagra. I can report that I have been to one of these restaurants but cannot attest either way to the efficacy of the aphrodisiac qualities of ingesting cobra.
On this trip I was accompanied by my long time friend and sometimes travel companion, Rick Taft. Rick was always game for a unique travel experience that was not necessarily attractive to our wives. I had known Rick from my time in the Ohio Governor's office and despite being the great grandson of Republican President William Howard Taft, he was working for the very non-Republican Ohio Attorney General.
We had each purchased a thirty-day unlimited travel ticket from Cathay Pacific. The only requirement was that on each leg of the trip we had to fly in and out of Hong Kong. On this particular leg of the trip, we found ourselves in Hanoi. We had passed on the opportunity to eat Thit Cho, known to us as dog meat and had not even entertained the possibility of cat or mouse cuisine which is also available
The cobra meal begins with being escorted into an area where the live snakes are caged. Once your snake has been selected, it is put still wiggling on the floor. The head is cut off. The still beating heart is cut out and offered to the guest of honor. Rick and I both declined, and the heart was consumed by our Vietnamese host.
A mixture of bile and blood is then mixed with wine and offered to the guests. We did pony up for that experience immediately producing a slightly queasy rumbling in my stomach.
The snake is then skinned and prepared in a variety of ways. The skin is fried and there are any number of different dishes. Like everything else unidentifiable that we eat, cobra meat tasted very much like chicken. It was actually quite tasty once you got past the blood and bile and the fact that you were eating a snake that was squirming around ten minutes ago.
I do feel confident that we will not see cobra franchises challenging Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants anytime soon. I am equally confident as givers of .affection for our dogs and cats neither of these will be appearing at your local diners.
The idea of eating mice is unthinkable so we can skip even speculating on that possibility.
The take away returns us once again to a popular theme.
Travel without the guardrails teaches us that across our broad planet, people are experiencing life in their own way. They are living and even dying in a manner unique to their culture. They are worshipping and ordering their priorities in ways we find puzzling. This extends to the foods they eat. What we find repulsive, they may treasure as a delicacy. It is thus not a matter of who is right and who is wrong but what our mamas told us to eat. There is room for all of us and our own unique way of experiencing our lives, but for some reason, none of us seem to think so.