Snakes on a plate: Vietnam’s coiled cuisine

1 / 6
This photo taken on August 24, 2018 shows chef Dinh Tien Dung collecting snake blood on a glass of rice wine at a specialty restaurant in Yen Bai province. (AFP)
2 / 6
This photo taken on August 24, 2018 shows a customer consuming a snake sausage dish served at a specialty restaurant in Yen Bai province. (AFP)
3 / 6
This photo taken on August 24, 2018 shows Dang Quoc Khanh holding a snake in his breeding farm in Yen Bai province. (AFP)
4 / 6
This photo taken on August 24, 2018 shows chef Dinh Tien Dung cleaning the snakes at a specialty restaurant in Yen Bai province, Vietnam. (AFP)
5 / 6
This photo taken on August 24, 2018 shows a cook preparing snake dish at a specialty restaurant in Yen Bai province. (AFP)
6 / 6
This photo taken on August 24, 2018 shows chef Dinh Tien Dung preparing to cook a snake at a specialty restaurant in Yen Bai province while an assistant looks on. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018
0

Snakes on a plate: Vietnam’s coiled cuisine

  • It’s delicious, good for your health and good for your bones

YEN BAI, Vietnam: With their meat served up in a wide array of dishes and blood added to rice wine, snakes make a reputedly satisfying — and nourishing — meal in Vietnam.
Caught in the jungles of the north of the country, snake flesh is traditionally believed to help with cooling overheated body temperatures, relieving headaches and easing digestion.
Restaurants will cook it steamed or fried with lemongrass and chilli and serve it with a rice wine mixed with snake blood, said chef Dinh Tien Dung, who works at a restaurant in Yen Bai province three hours northwest of the capital Hanoi.
Holding a snake’s head with one hand, Dinh Tien Dung slit its body near the head with a knife and squeezed blood out of it, dripping it into a cup of rice wine.
“We make use of every part of the snake except its head and its scales,” said the 32-year-old.
Locals believe that only men over 50 should drink snake wine, as younger males are likely to experience “backache or impotence,” said restaurant owner Duong Duc Doc.
As for its flesh, the benefits to eating it are numerous, said snake-catcher Dang Quoc Khanh, a 35-year-old who has been trapping serpents in the jungle since he was a young boy.
“Snake meat is a very good food,” he said, “It’s delicious, good for your health and good for your bones.”
But wildlife expert Ioana Dungler from Four Paws International said killing wild snakes and disturbing the jungles’ ecosystem is unnecessary as global meat production should be sufficient.
“The whole process of these animals ending on a plate or in a drink is very painful... and it’s done for purposes that are not justified,” Dungler told AFP.


E. Guinea fury as Brazil seizes $16m from visiting delegation

Updated 18 September 2018
0

E. Guinea fury as Brazil seizes $16m from visiting delegation

  • Federal police found $1.5 million in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15 million in another
  • Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais, or about $2,400, in cash

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea: The tiny West African state of Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday demanded Brazil hand back more than $16 million in cash and luxury watches that border officials confiscated from a delegation accompanying the president’s son.
Foreign Minister Simeon Oyono Esono Angue denounced the seizure as “paltry and unfriendly behavior” and demanded the items be returned, state television TVGE said.
Teodorin Nguema Obiang, vice president of Equatorial Guinea and son of its longtime ruler, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, arrived Friday on a private plane at Viracapos airport near Sao Paulo as part of an 11-person delegation.
Federal police found $1.5 million (1.28 million euros) in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15 million in another, O Estado de Sao Paulo reported.
Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais, or about $2,400, in cash.
“The vice president was on a private trip to Brazil,” the Brazilian ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Evalde Freire, who was called in to the foreign ministry in Malago, told TVGE on Monday.
“All international travelers are subjected to national airport procedures, where customs and police do their job,” Freire said.
O Estado de Sao Paulo quoted a diplomatic source from Equatorial Guinea as saying the money was to pay for medical treatment Obiang was to undergo in Sao Paulo.
The watches were for his “personal use” and engraved with his initials, the report said.
Obiang junior, 49, was sentenced in France to a three-year suspended term in October 2017 for money-laundering.
He has visited Brazil several times, attending the 2015 Carnival in Rio de Janeiro when a samba school won top honors for a Equatorial Guinea-themed parade but was heavily criticized because its was allegedly funded by the Obiang regime.
Obiang senior, 76, seized power by ousting his own uncle, the first post-independence president Francisco Macias Nguema, who was then shot by firing squad.
He won a fifth seven-year term in 2016 with nearly 94 percent of the ballot. General elections last November saw his party win 92 percent of the vote. Both elections have been criticized as fraudulent.
Critics accuse him of brutal repression of opponents as well as election fraud and corruption.
Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil producers, but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population lives in poverty.