Snake Blood and Bones in Hanoi, Vietnam

21 Jan

Anyone who has seen The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio will remember the scene where he takes a shot of snake blood in Bangkok. However, I don’t remember seeing any offers to try snake blood in Bangkok. Rather, I was generally pointed in the direction of Vietnam where you could easily find snake restaurants.

Particularly, I had heard about the Snake Village tour held by Hanoi Backpackers in Hanoi, Vietnam.

For a bit less than $20, Hanoi Backpackers drives a group of people to Snake Village, which is a restaurant where, you guessed it, they offer the Vietnamese delicacy of snake (bones and all!). Our tour guide was hilarious and awesome.

That's him in the middle!

There’s more to it though and, little did I know, this night would end up being one of the funnest and craziest of my entire trip.

When you first arrive, you get a chance to hold some snakes if you’re brave enough.

Afterward, everyone in your tour group (there were about 10 people in mine) sits down on mats on the floor.

Believe me, if you’re not friends with the people around you at the beginning of the night, you will be by the end!

Everyone was given a bottle of beer for the purpose of chasing down the disgusting shots of whiskey we’d be having between each course.

Excuse the blurriness!

Within each tour group, 2 people who are brave enough get to eat a snake’s beating heart right out of its body! I am far from being a vegetarian and I try not to think about the slaughter of animals when I’m eating them so I volunteered. In fact, after I was the first to do it, almost everyone else wanted to do it. Only two people get to do it for free so everyone pitched in to pay for some more snakes to kill. If you are brave enough, it is SO worth the extra money. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

This next picture is not for the faint at heart!

One thing I didn’t expect though was that I was meant to KILL the snake myself!

My blood was pumping with adrenaline as I got ready to do it. The workers instructed me where to cut the snake with my dagger and I did. Then they showed me where the heart was and I actually had to BITE through the muscle or tendons or whatever was holding the heart in the body to get the heart out. As I swallowed the heart, I could feel it STILL BEATING all the way down my throat. It was CRAZY. Seriously. Such and adrenaline rush. I was shaking afterward.

Click HERE for a video of me participating in this crazy activity.

After everyone killed their snakes and ate their hearts, we all sat down to take shots of snake blood and bile, both of which were mixed with potent rice wine. I found this MUCH more disgusting than the heart.

From what I can remember, there were seven courses.

There was rice cooked in snake fat (YUM!).

There were snake ribs (My personal favourite).

Snake skin (Yuck!), snake steak (Chewy, but good), and snake bones (surprisingly delish!).

Snake skin in the front, steak in the back, and bones on the plate in right with the big spoon on it.

Snake meatballs (So good!).

Snake spring rolls (So delicious!).

If I had to describe what snake meat tasted like, I would probably say that it was most comparable to chicken.

One thing we learned whilst there was that it was customary to do a communal shot of whiskey before each course since snake was something of a delicacy in Vietnam. We also did a ‘cheers’ before each shot in as many languages as we could think of. Not only was the whiskey so incredibly gross, but it was so strong and cheap (resulting in us buying a few more bottles of it). By the end of the night everyone was completely wasted. One girl was passed out before we even left the restaurant! It was hilarious.

Who knows where the night might take you, but if it turns out to be anything like ours, it will be the funnest night ever!

First it took us to the streets where we possibly sang “I’m A Little Teapot”, but who knows?

Posing as a teapot. Do you see it?

Then we drunkenly hit up a random Vietnamese club where we were the only Westerners present! It was SO ridiculous and awesome.

We made a lot of Vietnamese friends.

Then, for some strange reason, we went to a nice sit-down restaurant! This part of the night I have no recollection of. No idea why that was necessary, but it’s hilarious when I think of it now.

Then, we headed back to Hanoi Backpackers where I drunkenly Skype’d with my DAD! Seriously, WHYYY?!

Oh, and did I mention that we had a 9 am flight the next morning?!

So, if you’re ever in Hanoi and are brave enough to try snake, prepare yourself for a potentially drunken, crazy, and unforgettable night!

I think this picture pretty much sums it up!

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2 Responses to “Snake Blood and Bones in Hanoi, Vietnam”

  1. Ashley Lounsbury January 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    LOVE the post!! Brings back such good memories! Or lack there of… 😉

    • Kristy January 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      Haha definitely does! 🙂

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