In fact, "This is not a typical part of Vietnamese culture. Most Vietnamese people have never eaten snake meat, let alone drank snake wine and snake blood wine" quoted by the director of the Animals Asia Foundation. So the reality in Vietnam is what snake wine is, why is it famous with international tourists?
I - Origin and effect of Vietnam snake wine
In fact, Snake Wine does not come from Vietnamese cuisine but it is a variation from the traditional knowledge of Chinese medicine. Accordingly, this drink first appeared in 771 BC of Western Zhou Dynasty with the record to enhance the health and vitality of men. Later continued to be recorded in many medical books such as: 神农 本草 经, 本草綱目 (Shennong Materia Medica, Compendium of Materia Medica), ... - China.
This knowledge began to be introduced into Vietnam when the Chinese applied Confucian culture, Oriental medicine, etc. in the war of invasion and domination of Vietnam for over 1,000 years. Over many historical periods, this concept has been ingrained in the subconscious and belief of many Vietnamese people, and gradually became a "unique - strange" drink that many tourists pay attention to.
Source: Jan Kubita
You can easily find Snake Wine or similar products at many stores across the territory of Vietnam, especially in areas with many forests and bushes, because these areas are rich in the materials. Depending on the number of snakes, snake type, snake size, the Snake Wine Vietnam price will range from 150,000 - 1,200,000 VND/liter (~ $6.46 - 51.72).
II - How to prepare snake wine
Snakes chosen for alcohol immersion are often venomous snakes such as cobras, banded krait, krait, etc. Snakes before being soaked in alcohol will have their own bloodstream and the viscera will be removed, the bile and heart will probably be retained. There are also some cases where indigenous people will soak the whole snake (even an alive one) in wine jars. Some snake wine products can be mentioned as:
- One-snake wine - soaked with one cobra.
- Two-snake wine - immersion of two cobras of equal size.
- Three-snake wine - soaked in three types of snakes are cobra, krait and Ptyas mucosus
- Five-beam wine - soaked in five types of snakes, including cobra, krait, Chinese krait, and Ptyas mucosus
After cleaning, the snake will be soaked with rice wine - a type of wine that is manually fermented, distilled in Vietnam, has a sweet taste, high alcohol content about 30-40% while ordinary wine is only about 30-35 % alcohol. Along with that, you can combine a few herbs of traditional medicine such as Ha Thu O (Fallopia multiflora), Ke huyet dang (Millettia Reticulata L), etc. Snake Wine is also soaked with other animals such as: seahorse, tokay gecko, deer antler etc.
The time for soaking Vietnamese Snake Wine must be at least 03-10 days to ensure the safety and achieve the desired taste, according to the concept of snake wine soaking for 100 days. Each time you should only drink up to 10-25ml and preferably at dinner to feel the positive effects of this drink on the body.
Note: you must take great care when deciding to try this drink. Because many types of alcohol are soaked from venomous snakes, if the soaking time is not long enough for the active ethanol in alcohol to absorb and break the snake's venom, it is very dangerous. Moreover, the use and sale of snake products also "contributed" to push this animal to the brink of extinction. Note that tourists in the following group should absolutely not drink snake alcohol:
- People with poor kidney and liver function, and easy to get allergies, urticaria, rashes.
- People with high blood pressure, heart or gout may see bad effects from snake wine
- Solid secretion alcohol also easily leads to the risk of parasitic infection.
- You may concern: List of Vietnamese drinks
In fact, there are many curious tourists who want to taste snake wine from Vietnam because of the strangeness in the processing method and try to verify the accuracy of the use of this drink according to the conception of Vietnamese people in general and Southeast Asia in particular. Moreover, enjoying a glass of solid blood wine or swallowing a snake heart is also an extremely shocking experience, which is attractive to young tourists.