27 April 2011

The time I ate a live beating snake heart

Two Vietnamese men pulled a bright green and yellow snake taut with its lined belly facing up.  Another man stabbed a three inch blade into the beasts neck and sliced downward.  Muscle and fiber burst out dark and purple and pulsing.  The man squeezed the wound exposing the beating heart.  I knelt down, put my mouth to the wound and ripped the serpents heart from its body.

Gross right? 

I knew I was supposed to eat the snake's heart when we booked the dinner, I just assumed the little marble sized thing would be fried up with some crispy onions and soy sauce.  Instead we got all primal.  A snake dinner goes something like this:

  • Rip the heart from the body and try not to puke
  • Drink a vodka shot mixed with snake blood
  • Wash that nastiness down with a sip of Bia Ha Noi (Bia = Beer)
  • Sample a surprisingly tasty snake appetizer
  • Take a shot of rice wine.  Tradition dictates that you do this before each course.
  • Sample snake meatballs
  • Another shot of rice wine
  • Try to eat tiny pieces of meat between snake ribs
  • Another shot of rice wine
  • Eat some slimy snake skin thing
  • Take a shot of vodka mixed with snake bile that you have been eyeing with dread
  • Chug half a bottle of beer and wipe your tongue with a napkin like that's going to help
  • Order another bottle of rice wine and talk drunk politics with a French dentist who has about a gallon of snake blood smeared on his face
I took video of everyone munching on snake heart.  Shane almost pukes, Mike digs in deep and comes up with crazy eyes, I'm comically nonchalant about it.  I will edit it all together when I'm done traveling.  For now you have to watch Blake's video.  It's pure gold.

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