Snake Wine or Whiskey from Vietnam: Where to Buy & Price
Snake Wine or Snake Whiskey from Vietnam is believed to be one of the magic medication, that helps reducing osteoarthritis pain and strenthern vitality for the men. This is one of the Weirdest Vietnamese Food and Beverages, that dare you to try. For some guests from oversea countriese making a trip to Vietnam, trying this king of drink should be an unique experience.
1. What is the Vietnamese Snake Wine?
Vietnamese Snake Wine is a kind of drink made by placing an entire snake in a jar or container with rice wine or another liquor, percentage around 29% to 35%. Then let it stay for a couple of months. Sometimes people also add spices and flavors for the better taste. At times, different creatures are also added, like scorpions, bugs, reptiles or even little birds. These creatures are perceived by Chinese medication as having therapeutic properties for medical and health advantages.
In fact, Vietnamese Snake Wine or Snake Whiskey from Vietnam is not a typical and popular drink of Vietnamese culture. "Most Vietnamese people have never tried snake meat, let alone drank snake wine and snake blood wine" quoted by the director of the Animals Asia Foundation.
2. Origin of Snake Wine from Vietnam:
Snake Wine did not come from the Vietnamese culture, but it is a variation from the traditional knowledge of Chinese medicine. Accordingly, history of this drink first appeared in around 771 BC of the Western Zhou Dynasty with the record to enhance the health and vitality of the men. Later it continued to be recorded in many Chinese medical books.
This kind of drink began to be introduced in Vietnam when the Chinese applied Confucian culture, Oriental medicine, during 1.000 years of invasion and domination of Vietnam . Over many many years, this concept has been ingrained in the subconscious and belief of many Vietnamese people, and gradually became a "unique healthy" drink for local people.
3. How to Make Vietnamese Snake Wine?
Snakes chosen for Snake Wine are often venomous snakes such as cobras, banded krait, and krait,... The snakes in Vietnam before being soaked in alcohol have their own blood (for Snake Blood Wine) and the viscera removed, the bile and heart are probably retained. There are also some cases when indigenous people will soak the whole snake (even an alive one) in wine bottles.
After being processed and cleaned, the snake is soaked with rice wine. While soaking, you can combine it with a few kinds of herb, traditional medicines such as Ha Thu O (Fallopia multiflora), Ke huyet dang (Millettia Reticulata L),... or other animals such as seahorse, tokay gecko, deer antler.
The time for snake staying in alcohol must be at least 03-06 months to ensure the safety or wait for 100 days to achieve the taste and nutritions, according to the local people ’s opinion. You should only drink up to 10-25 ml at a time and preferably at dinner to feel the positive effects of the snake wine from Vietnam on the body.
There is also a second way to drink snake wine, which is called "snake blood wine". Snake blood wine is prepared by cutting open a snake and draining its blood into a mixing vessel with rice wine or some other grain alcohol.
4. Why Do Vietnamese Drinking Snake Wine?
Some people think that the snakes have medicinal properties and by drinking snakes wine, it could, among other things, cure certain diseases, against hair loss and to improve sexual performance of man. However, nothing has ever been proven about this and is mainly used to persuade buyers. It will affect to help with health benefits for man In general.
5. Is it Safe to Drink Vietnamese Snake Wine?
Yes, it is safe to drink Vietnamese snake wine. Despite the fact that this liqueur is made from a venomous snake. In the process of making the wine, the ethanol breaks down the snake’s venom. So it is not dangerous to drink.
6. How is the Taste of Vietnamese Snake Wine like?
The taste of the Vietnamese Snake Wine is quite strong alcohol and gives an earthy, sweet taste. The presence of snake in it adds a fish or chicken-like flavour to it.
7. Are the Snakes Still Alive in the Snake Wine?
Before putting snake in the liquor, Vietnamese usually process to take our the blood (for blood wine) and heart (swallow when drinking blood wine). So snakes are not alive any more.
8. Where to Buy the Snake Wine in Vietnam?
You can buy snake wine everywhere in Vietnam from Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Phong Nha, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Saigon and Mekong Delta or Sale Online. Many travelers want to buy Vietnamese snake wine as a kind of souvenir to bring home. Just keep in mind that importing snake wine may be eligal in some countries, as some snakes are on the list of endangered species. It is best to check your custom policy before, to avoid problems from your customs.
Also there is controversy surrounding the purchase of snake wine, in relation to animal cruelty and that is completely understandable. However, it is still an aspect of Vietnamese culture, as Vietnam is a developing country with some superstitions here and there.
9. How Much Does Vietnamese Snake Wine Cost?
This liqueur is served at street markets, bars and even souvenir shops at airports. The best place to buy snake wine in Vietnam is at Ben Thanh Market in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. Snake Wine Price in Vietnam costs between 500.000 vnd (~USD 20) to 4.000.000 vnd (~USD 180), depending on the size of bottle and type/size of the snake in the wine.
If you travel to Hanoi. You should visit Le Mat snake village, about 7 kilometers from the city center of Hoan Kiem Lake or Hanoi Old Quarter. There are about more than 100 snake farms in Le Mat Snake Village, two of which are very large and popular for domestic and foreign visitors, where snakes are incubated for the wine and meat as well. Every day, there are many hundred of Vietnamese and foreign travelers coming here to try out the local delicacies. Most of these snakes being farmed here are poisonous cobras, and you can even play with them and take some picture for souvenir.
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