CNN Recommends Visiting Le Mat Village for an Exotic Menu of Snake Delights

CNN, the US' cable news network suggests tourists taking a ride to Le Mat village in Hanoi's peripheral district of Long Bien to explore the exotic menu of snake dishes.

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Foodie thrill ride to Le Mat village for exotic menu of snake, CNN suggests
Nearly every dish on this table contains snake, with the exception of the plates of olives and cucumber slices.

For locals, snake dishes are familiar and expected, a natural part of their diet. For foreigners, it is perhaps the “ultimate foodie thrill ride,” CNN wrote.

CNN cited the owner of one of the most popular restaurants in the area as saying that the history of snakes in Vietnamese cuisine began with blood. It is believed that snake blood heals headaches and is good for curing sore throats and bone problems.

For the past 20 to 30 years, the villagers of Le Mat have made snakes a local delicacy, and the village has become well-known as a culinary destination specializing in snake meat.

According to CNN, the menu-free experience at the restaurant allows diners to choose which snake ends up on their table, and witnessing the chefs preparing the dishes adds to the adventurous culinary trip.

The CNN team described snake spring rolls, filled with ground reptile meat, as “tasty and fresh with herbs found in all Vietnamese cuisine”. They also noted that sautéed snake meat is popular and has a texture similar to poultry or pork.

Le Mat ancient town has been involved in the breeding and farming of snakes for around 200 years. However, this practice is now illegal due to Vietnam’s participation in the International Convention on the Protection of Wildlife.

There are approximately 100 snake-farming households in Le Mat, employing nearly 400 people. Additionally, there are two large specialized farms that breed snakes and produce snake meat. Every day, Le Mat attracts around 1000 Vietnamese and foreign travelers looking to try this unique culinary specialty.

In the past, the snake-breeding and meat production industry almost disappeared due to restrictions imposed after Vietnam ratified the international convention on the protection of wildlife in 1993. However, in 2007, Le Mat was granted “craft village” status to support and develop the snake breeding and meat production industry in order to meet the demand of increasing tourists.

When it comes to the real experience of witnessing the entire cage-to-table cooking, CNN emphasizes that the menu-free experience allows diners to choose which snake ends up on their table.

“There’s no rule that says you have to watch the snake meet its timely death, but many choose to witness the expert handler navigate his way around the slithering, hissing creature,” CNN explained.

Once the snake is cut and killed, it is taken to the kitchen to be prepared. It is chopped, sliced, ground, and its bones are pulverized. Additionally, its skin is cut into strips for a quick fry.