Vietnam is not only famous for its diverse and healthy cuisine but also for its quirky and a little scary dishes. If you love adventure, take a ride to Le Mat Village in Hanoi to enjoy the exotic snake menu.
You can also see firsthand the snake farm of local people as well as how they turn snake meat into luxury dishes in Vietnam. Participating in this half-day tour in Le Mat Village, you will understand about the local daily life in Vietnam.
1. The Tradition of Catching and Snake Farming in Le Mat Village
About 7 kilometers from Hanoi, Le Mat Village is famous for its tradition of catching and processing snake specialties. This village is probably home to a greater number of snake-catching people than anywhere in the Northern Delta region. This risky job requires a “secret” that passed down from generation to generation.
From the 1960s to 1990s, Le Mat people caught snakes for providing restaurants or pharmaceutical purposes. In 1993, Vietnam imposed the international convention on the snake-breeding industry and some restrictions to protect the wildlife. After that, snake dishes have been completely eliminated. In 2007, Vietnamese authorities granted Le Mat a ‘craft village’ status as they understand the negative repercussions on the local dining economy. The reconciliation plans between raising snake and meat production are applied to increase the experience for visitors when visiting this village.
2. How to get to Le Mat Village
Traveling by bus is a convenient way to get to Le Mat Village (Bus No 10 to Long Bien Bus Station) for 30 minutes. After that, you can take a walk about a few hundred meters to this village. Besides, you can ask for help from a travel agent to have more enjoyable experiences during your journey to find out the most authentic things in Hanoi.
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3. Unique Snake Tasting in Le Mat Village
Nowadays, there are nearly 100 snake-farming households. 400 employees in Le Mat village and two large farms specialize to breed snakes and produce snake meat. Local people said that the origin of snakes in Vietnamese dishes began with blood. Snake blood is believed to heal headaches and cure sore throats and bone problems. Besides, snake meat is good for men to boost strength and virility. This quirky specialty attracts over 1000 domestic and foreign visitors to come to Le Mat Village.
Coming to local restaurants, you meet the owners whose arms are filled with many scars made by this dangerous reptile. Snake meat can be processed into 12 different traditional dishes or made based on the customer’s requests. Don’t worry! Local chefs dispel your fear with lots of delicious snake dishes mixing with seasonings and typical herbal leaves. Some appealing dishes you can look for trying that are snake soup meat, crispy snake meat, especially grilled snake skin.
4. Le Mat Village Festival
This village festival happens annually from March 20 to 24 of the lunar calendar which worships the Imperial Citadel of Le Mat village. It is the chance for children and grandchildren to gather and express their gratitude to their ancestors. The descendants take responsibility for offering gifts from the capital to Le Mat village communal house to attend the festival.
Participating in the unique festival, you have a chance to admire the special bamboo snake dancing in the legend associated with the origin of this village. Besides, local people also share their secrets of catching, breeding, treating venomous snakes as well as processing specialties about snake meat.