Eating Spitting Cobra in Mui Ne, Vietnam


Being a foodie and a traveler can lead you down some strange paths sometimes. It gives you the desire to eat really weird stuff in really strange places and a propensity to try anything once.  This was the case when my friend Mark and I where riding motorcycles around Vietnam.  We made a stop in the awesome little beach resort town of Mui Ne, famous for affordable beach resort rooms and some of the best and cheapest seafood on Earth.  We had heard early on in Vietnam we could get snake and after hearing stories from my friends who had eaten it we got the itch to have one of our own.

The first snake we saw with his nervous looking cage-mates.
The first snake we saw with his nervous looking cage-mates.

My good buddy Steve had given me some expert advice about getting food in Mui Ne, he said, “Only eat at places with no roof and aquariums full of animals and fish out front. They will have the best food and the best prices.” Steve was right.  There is a strip of outdoor restaurants along the beach in Mui Ne, they none had a roof and they all had aquariums and picnic tables to sit at.  After briefly walking the strip of eateries we spied a snake in an aquarium. It was an enormous boa constrictor.  We asked the owner if we could eat it and he said, “you want snake”, and we smiled and said, “hell yes we want snake.”

This is me taking a picture far too close to a spitting cobra in a bag.
This is me taking a picture far too close to a spitting cobra in a bag.

Unsure of what was really going on the owner got super excited and showed us to our picnic table by the sea.  He went back into his little kitchen area and one of the cooks brought us our snake, but not the huge boa, what we got was a spitting cobra.  How did I know it was spitting, because when I went to snap a close shot of it with my camera in it’s mesh bag the owner leapt in and pulled me away quickly informing me of the fact I was about to be poisoned by a spitting cobra. Dually noted.

My buddy Mark contemplating our first shots of cobra blood and vodka.
My buddy Mark contemplating our first shots of cobra blood and vodka.

Before we knew it the cook had reached in the bag and pulled the cobra out by the back of it’s neck and the owner Sian had started getting a bottle of vodka and a big beer mug ready. Apparently this was a part of the meal. Before we knew it the cook, directly in front of us was cutting off the cobra’s head with a scissors, where as blood and venom were shooting all over the place, and they began draining the snakes blood into the beer mug half full of vodka, pretty intense.  “Good for man, good for man libido, make you strong for a very long time, snake blood keep you strong. You need to find some girls,” Sian happily yelled at us.  Fun fact 42 about eating snake, apparently, lots of locals get snake because it is like a natural form of Viagra for men and supposedly gives you lots of energy to keep your lady happy in the sack.

 

 

Snake course #1, I think I see some scales in there. Yep, those are definitely scales.
Snake course #1, I think I see some scales in there. Yep, those are definitely scales.

Sian gave us the bottle of vodka, the mug of snake blood vodka, two shot glasses, and told us they would soon be cooking up a snake feast for us. My friend Mark and I poured us the first of many snake blood and vodka shots and took em down with shit eating grins on our faces.  Soon after we got our first shot down Sian came out with a special appetizer, the still beating heart of the cobra, but only one of us could eat it.  After and all or nothing game of rock paper scissors I ended up gulping down the beating heart of the cobra followed by another shot of vodka snake blood.

Deep Fried cobra course #2, delicious.
Deep Fried cobra course #2, delicious.

Over the next hour and a half bottle of vodka mixed with snake blood we were served four courses of snake.  The first three main courses were different versions of fried snake with a variety of sauces, one spicy, one salty, one sort of sweet, and all surprisingly very delicious. Our last course came with 2 bowls of snake soup that was also extremely good.

Cobra course #3, they tenderized the meat like ground beef and added a lime zest, ridiculously delicious.
Cobra course #3, they tenderized the meat like ground beef and added a lime zest, ridiculously delicious.

Just when we thought this snake feast had come to an end Sian brought us out a surprise, he had prepared us a special bottle of snake wine.  Essentially, he took the remaining half-bottle of vodka and cut open the snake’s gallbladder over the top of it letting the juices run in and turn the vodka to a golden color. Once he juiced the gallbladder as much as he could he pushed the organ through the top of the bottle and let it sink and permanently marinade the vodka. He said this was very special, it was snake wine, and that he himself only had 2 bottles of it. Sian is an awesome restaurateur, he spoke English, Russian, Vietnamese, and who knows what else fluently and made sure we were taken care of the entire time.

The cobra soup was awesome, if chicken soup is good for colds then this is good for….ummm erections according to Sian.
The cobra soup was awesome, if chicken soup is good for colds then this is good for….ummm erections according to Sian.

So after an epic dinner with some epic drinks and our head a buzz from probably vodka but maybe secret snake libido juice we went out on the town and had an awesome night walking the strip and hitting bars in Mui Ne.  Eating snake isn’t for everyone, and if you can’t stand the sight of blood it’s not for you, because you’ll be drinking it, but if you are looking for a local experience with delicious food, it is the way to go.  So ready your shot glasses, find your appetite, maybe plan a rendezvous with a lady afterwards to quell your new well of man energy, and go find a Vietnamese seaside restaurant with a snake aquarium near you.

Gallbladder Cobra Desert Wine, yes please.
Gallbladder Cobra Desert Wine, yes please.
My snake filled self, our main man Sian, and my buddy Mark.
My snake filled self, our main man Sian, and my buddy Mark.


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