|Enjoying the Night Market Atmosphere|
Recently, two friends and I went to “Snake Alley” to try out this food. Things have changed there quite a bit. The restaurants no longer do “snake shows.” The snake shows showed a number of things. They would feed the snakes mice and rats. They would handle the snakes and finally, they skinned the snakes, alive. As I’ve said these are no longer done. There have been a number of complaints to the government by animal rights activists on behalf of the snakes. The government no longer allows the snakes to be mistreated.
Those restaurants no longer allow you to photograph the snakes or the people. In fact, at one of the two restaurants the owner was so hostile toward foreigners and photography that he didn’t want us to come to his restaurant. We were greeted with a refusal to speak to us and some pretty severe looks. The other restaurant welcomed us but still insisted that we take no photos of the snakes or the rats.
Snake is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. The problem with this is that the fried snake that I had was cooked with so much garlic that I smelled like garlic for a couple of days. This is not exactly romantic. So the question for the ages is this: Can the aphrodisiac properties of snake over come the turn-off properties of smelling like garlic for multiple days.
The snake soup was a thin broth containing two small pieces of snake. It was served with the blood, venom, oil, snake wine, reproductive parts and two small capsules of medicinal snake oil. As a meal goes it wasn’t much.
We also tried snakeskin. It was served in a sauce similar to the sauce used for the fried snake. But the difference was that it was very chewy. It reminded me a great deal of the taste and consistency of squid. It was also heavily garlicked.
|A Very Young Ma Ying Jiu (right) and His Cook|
Other posts you might be interested in:
Eating My Way Through Taiwan: A Traditional Restaurant
Eating My Way Through Taiwan: Japanese Barbecue
Taiwan Travelogue: The Traditional Market