I don’t much like snakes, but I am fascinated by them and enjoy watching some of the snake and reptile handlers on TV shows like Austin Stevens Snakemaster, Rattlesnake Nation, Swamp Wars, Swamp People, Gator Boys, and Wild Things with Dominic Managhan. Growing up in a rural state with swamps and lakes and backwoods a plenty, I have seen a fair number of venomous snakes including water moccasins and copperheads but never had any desire to catch, kill or eat one. However, some folks do prize snakes for their lean protein and chicken-like taste and in Hong Kong, snake soup is a staple but may soon be unavailable and not for the reasons you may think. There are no shortages of snake.
Snake wrangling is an ancient art passed down through the generations in Hong Kong, but this practice has practically come to a halt as fewer and fewer people show interest in working with venomous snakes. After all, who wants to be blinded by a spitting cobra or painfully bitten and envenomated with toxins that rot away flesh, destroy tissue and shut down vital organs. By the way, what organs aren’t vital? I don’t know about you, but I rather think all my organs are vital. The old snake masters claim that the dangers are overstated once you rip out the fangs of the snakes. Not only does someone have to catch the snake, but the fangs have to be removed and it is the art of fang removal which must have many of the younger generation spooked. Now you may be asking why not just cut the head off, but I guess they want to keep the snakes alive to preserve their freshness and I suppose, though cruel, a snake can live without its fangs just as a cat can live without claws. And de-fanging a snake makes it much safer for the chefs to handle.
I’ve never eaten snake, but I suppose I could in a survival situation. And while I’ve never seen snake on a menu of a U.S. restaurant, I would guess you could find grilled or barbecue rattlesnake in places like Arizona. If I were a culinary consultant to a start-up restaurateur who wanted to specialize in snakes, here’s what I would suggest for the menu.
Breakfast: Scrambled Snake Eggs and Blood Python Sausages with Electric Eel Oatmeal, and a cup of Red Coffee Snake
Dinner: Barbecue Pit Viper, Fried Cottonmouth, Cobra Shish Kebab, Anaconda Tartare, Oven Roasted Sea Snake with Pickled Corral Snake
Desert: Cream Puff Adder Brulee, Red Milk Snake Shake
Child’s meal: Rattlesnake stew (with the promise of the rattle at the bottom of the bowl), Snake Fingers, Peanut Butter and Jelly Fish (seasonal offering)
Vegetarians: fresh Grass Snake on a bed of kale
- Hong Kong snake kings a dying breed (news.yahoo.com)
Filed under: food, Food and Wine, Health, humor, TV Tagged: | eating snake, forked tongue in cheek, Hong Kong, humor, humour, Reptilia, Snake, snake food, snake menu, snake restaurant, snake soup, Venomous snake