The king cobra was rather tasty...

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Statue at the Temple of Literature
It is now Wednesday evening, around 9 PM in Hanoi. Last night was very relaxing. Found a Bia Hoi cafe which pretty much is a place that continuously serves Vietnam's basic draft beer, Bia Hoi, and adding various appetizers to complement the beer. It's a very light beer, probably around 4% alcohol and without any real refrigeration, what happens is that it is brewed to be served almost immediately. So we drink it like water, and it was very refreshing to say the least. We got a little lost after dinner, but when in doubt, just take a cab and it'll cost about 11,000 dong per km which is approximately... $0.60 per km. Headed to bed early to finally catch up on sleep.

We started Wednesday around 8 AM when Naht met us at our hotel.
You can see streaks of the cobra's blood on the right cup
She took us to the Temple of Literature first which is where the first university of Vietnam was originally established during the 11th century in honor of Confucian scholars. We were joined by one of Naht's friends afterwards, Huyen.

Tne next stop was Le Mat, known as the snake village. We traveled to this small quaint village about 7 km outside of Hanoi for one purpose, to consume a king cobra. We had snake wine (rice wine with a hint of snake's blood), snake soup and sauteed snake and also fried chopped up snake bone that was used to season their flatbread. Needless to say, it was quite the full course experience. And it only cost 590,000 dong which translates into roughly $32. Exotic foods at a price that can't be beat.

While we were walking back, we saw a boy on the side of the road who had set something on fire.
Mike, Naht, and Huyen enjoying alleyway flan
Turns out it was a mouse. Naht and Huyen were saying that mice are particularly reviled in Vietnam. So if people ever find one, they kill it then burn it afterwards as punishment. Such is how it goes sometimes.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around parts of Hanoi including hopping into one of the girls' favorite alleyways to eat caramel flan and coconut jelly. It should be noted that the bulk of the tables and chairs that exist on the Vietnam roadsides are all those brightly colored plastic kiddy tables and chairs. I wondered why. Maybe it's because they're light, relatively durable, easy to clean, and cheap. After seeing the Hoan Kiem Lake, where a former emperor received a magical sword that helped drive away the Chinese out of Vietnam, we parted ways with Naht and Huyen for the night. After that, we made a circuit of the area near our hotel and got to try a variety of roadside stalls for food. I don't really know what most of it was even called, but it was all very delicious: meat on a stick, pho that was using vermicelli noodles, and a pan fried pancake with stir fried meats and veggies.

Mike is going to prep a Flickr account for the bulk of our pictures, but in the meanwhile, I'll see what I can upload as is with this blog's upload feature.
jerrytu says:
Dude! King cobra, snake soup, and snake wine for lunch! Yum! I'm envious of your gastronomic adventure.

Beware of meat on a stick - who knows what kind of meat that is!
Posted on: Jan 07, 2010
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Statue at the Temple of Literature
Statue at the Temple of Literature
You can see streaks of the cobras…
You can see streaks of the cobra'…
Mike, Naht, and Huyen enjoying all…
Mike, Naht, and Huyen enjoying al…
photo by: mario26