Le Mat snake dishes are specialty of Le Mat is a small village located in Long Bien District in the capital city of Hanoi. The village has long been famous for a traditional job: catching snakes. It is rumored that even the kids there are skillful in doing the job, and that’s why there is no snakes left in the village and its surroundings. Nowadays, hundreds of families breed snakes to supply tens of snake restaurants in the village.
Not only famous for the talent of catching snakes, the village is also well-known for serving delicious dishes made from the reptiles. Just half an hour’s driving from the center of Hanoi, you will find yourself in Le Mat village where snake – restaurants have mushroomed.
Most of these dining venues are built on big plots of land surrounded by small farmer houses and rice fields. They are designed as rich houses of the old feudal time with wooden chairs and tables and precious potteries or porcelains.
The most popular snakes served in these restaurants are grass snakes and cobras (the cobra is ten times more expensive than grass snakes, of course), and they are all alive.
Guests can see how the chosen snake is prepared. Its heart and gall are poured into glasses of wine to drink. Other parts of the snake are cooked in different ways to make around ten dishes, for instance: grilled, fried, wrapped in leaves, rice soup, etc… Besides, snake alcohol is quite popular because it is believed to make ones healthier. Not many people think snakes are nice, but snake dishes are actually not so bad.
Quoc Trieu, owner of one of the biggest restaurants there, says that everyday nearly a hundred snakes are cooked. After the Government banned catching snakes to preserve the wild creature, his family had to open a farm to breed snakes in order to meet the demand of restaurants.
Originally a farmer who knew how to catch snakes 40 years ago, now he is quite rich with billions of dong worth of a snake restaurant and a farm of snakes.