Adventures in East Asia

Vietnamese Snake Wine with Massive Cobras!

Love alcohol? How about with a venomous snake in the mix?! I've known of wine containing reptiles and animals before. In Hong Kong, our grandmother once gave a bottle of wine and baby mice to an aunt to recover from a pregnancy although she did take the mice out first.


In Vietnam, we've so far only come across some smaller bottles containing reptiles. However, during our journey from Ninh Binh to Ha Long, we made a stop off at a roadside cafe/shop for some bitter green tea and to pick up some traditional green bean cakes and came across some massive specimens.


Apparently, the (rich) owner of the establishment is a bit of a fan of snake wine and so purchased these large bottles to sell.


From Wikipedia:

Snake wine is an alcoholic beverage that includes a whole venomous snake in the bottle. It originated in Vietnam and can be found around Southeast Asia. The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are not usually preserved for their meat but to have the snake poison dissolved in the liquor. However, the snake venom is denatured by the ethanol; its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactivated.

The snake is often placed with many smaller snakes, turtles, insects, or birds, and left to steep for many months. The wine is drunk as a restorative in small shots or cups.

Snakes are widely believed to possess medicinal qualities and the wine is often advertised to cure everything from farsightedness to hair loss, as well as to increase sexual performance. However, many of these claims are likely exaggerated to attract buyers.


In this case, the buyers won't be the average Vietnamese or even foreign visitor judging by the size and cost. These two fifty litre bottles on the left and right are 15.7 million dong (£670) and 15 million (£640) respectively.

Interestingly enough, we were a little puzzled by what the middle bottle was, and our guide subtle told us it was "for men". Turns out to be a bear penis in wine...


More photos of Snake Wine on Flickr

Wikipedia source

This entry posted in : Culture. Food. Shopping. Vietnam.

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19/02/10  at  11:35 PM
How can I buy a bottle with a cobra in it.
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20/02/10  at  04:51 AM
I think you'll have to go to Vietnam...
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22/09/10  at  03:01 PM
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22/09/10  at  07:16 PM
No, they only drink the wine..
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24/05/11  at  05:35 AM
u look nice ...

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