In the western hemisphere, the meat and fish we consume are fairly standardized, and tend to come from conventional sources – such as cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and turkeys (amongst others).
However, for much of the eastern hemisphere, this is not the case, and there are numerous other sources of meat and protein that people consume – either due to a lack of other viable options, or due to cultural and traditional culinary practices.
One such example is snake meat – a source of protein readily consumed in numerous regions. But what exactly does snake meat taste like, and where in the world is it consumed?
Where Do They Eat Snake Meat?
Primarily, snake meat is considered a delicacy in Hong Kong, where it is widely consumed in restaurants and at street food vendors. However, the practice is not limited to this region.
Snake meat is also widely consumed throughout mainland China, as well as Taiwan and other Asian countries and provinces.
Snake meat is also consumed by the Japanese, most notably the rangers in the Ground Self-Defense Forces – who are trained how to catch, cook, and eat snake meat when out in the thick jungles and forests of Japan (and abroad).
In this manner, snake meat has been a common source of necessitated food for people in harsh, unforgiving environments where more conventional meat cannot be found – such as in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and numerous other rural regions.
As such, this has been a widely used tactic amongst military personnel, both in wartime, and during long training sessions.
What Does Snake Meat Taste Like?
Of course, now comes the important question: what does snake meat actually taste like?
Generally speaking, snake meat is considered an earthy, gamey kind of meat – and is compared to animals like alligators in terms of taste.
But, if like me you haven’t tried alligator meat – as most people haven’t – then they have also been compared to more traditional meat like quail, Cornish game hen, and chicken.
The texture of snake meat is said to be soft with a light rubbery edge to it, and the color is pale and white like chicken and other poultry.
Funnily enough though, many experts in the field suggest that varying kinds of snakes taste differently from one another, and that the overall taste of snake meat adopts the characteristics of the food eaten by the snake itself.
This means that, realistically, the snake meat could taste like mice, rats, insects, or even frogs – all things that most people would rather not think about when eating their food.
Is Snake Meat Safe To Eat?
By and large, snake eat is more than safe to eat, and simply requires prompt killing and cooking in the right manner.
The way the meat is handled depends entirely on the species of snake that people are eating, and there are ways and means of making sure they taste nice and are safe to consume.
However, there is also a high risk of infection and bacteria – due to the fact that snakes are prone to infections and diseases, and that the transmission rate from snakes to humans is surprisingly high.
The FDA and the CDC suggest that people avoid handling snake meat that has come from injured or already dead animals, as well as meat that has been handled by anyone who already has snake related diseases – such as rabies, envenomation, and encephalitis.
Snakes that have also been in contact with blood and other bodily fluids should also be avoided at all costs.
Can You Eat Venomous Snakes?
If the snake was in good condition when it was killed, and is prepared in the right way, then there is absolutely nothing to stop you from eating meat from a venomous snake.
This is mainly due to the fact that the poison or venom is stored in a sack in the snake’s head, and never comes into contact with the rest of the snake’s body.
This means that, as long as the snake is not infected or diseased, or there is nothing wrong with its venom sack, then the meat is more than safe to cook and eat.
However, for the above reasons, it is not recommended to eat the snake’s head, as this is where the venom can be found – although the prospect of someone actually wanting to eat this part of the animal is unlikely.
What Snakes Are Eaten?
There are numerous kinds of snakes that are eaten all around the world, however the most common kind of snake meat more than likely comes from the rattlesnake.
This is because the rattlesnake is one of the most common forms of snake found in these areas, and as it poses one of the greatest threats to humans, killing it is more prudent if avoidance is not an option.
In the United States, along with rattlesnake, another commonly consumed snake is the diamondback – a species of rattlesnake and pit viper.
These are the longest venomous snakes in this part of the world, and their largeness means that you get more meat from their carcass.
The flavor of the diamondback is less gamey and more moderate in flavor than the typical rattlesnake, which makes it a more widely appealing form of meat than its gamier, earthier counterpart.
Is Snake Meat Healthy?
Funnily enough, snake meat is becoming fairly popular on the world market for these exact reasons.
Not only are people finding that snake meat is a good source of protein, but due to the fact that it is low in fat and calories, it is becoming a much sought after commodity for those looking to consume lean meat.
For the sake of comparison, a piece of snake meat would have around half the fat and calorie content as a piece of beef that is the same size and weight.
However, as with any kind of meat, the benefits are only found if it is cooked in the correct way. This also means that those trying to eat snake meat can avoid food poisoning and other potential problems associated with undercooked meat.
How To Prepare & Cook Snake Meat
As we mentioned, there are ways and means to prepare and cook snake meat, and while this may change depending on the type of snake, the following process is generally the best approach.
Before you cook the meat, the first thing you should do is cut off the head, remove the entrails, and then peel off the skin.
This is somewhat similar to preparing a fish or small game, and with a snake has the benefit of ensuring that any prospective venom glands have been removed.
You should then cut it into three or four large chunks, as this will make the cooking process easier and less cumbersome – especially if you are cooking over an open fire.
While barbecuing or cooking it over an open fire is an image widely associated with cowboy culture – and one traditionally used – the most common method in modern times is to deep fry the meat.
This means that you can then serve it on a sandwich or tortilla, or indeed eat it battered on a plate with side dishes. You can also bake the snake meat if you are looking for something less rustic.
However, cooking over the fire is considered the best and tastiest method – as are broiling, pan frying, grilling, and sauteing.
However, many people choose to cook this like they would a fish – frying it in breadcrumbs or batter to tenderize the slightly tough meat, and create a crunchy finish.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about snake meat, where it is eaten, and what it actually tastes like.
It’s true that the idea of snake meat probably feels like a combination of disgusting and unusual to many people – at least in the western hemisphere – and the fact of the matter is that it still remains a controversial issue for many.
However, there is no escaping the fact that numerous regions throughout the world readily consume it as a source of protein.
Luckily though – at least for those with phobias – it doesn’t appear to be a practice that has reached worldwide appeal.. At least for the time being!
What Does Snake Meat Taste Like?Course: Taste Like
- Before you cook the meat, the first thing you should do is cut off the head, remove the entrails, and then peel off the skin. This is somewhat similar to preparing a fish or small game, and with a snake has the benefit of ensuring that any prospective venom glands have been removed.
- You should then cut it into three or four large chunks, as this will make the cooking process easier and less cumbersome – especially if you are cooking over an open fire.
- While barbecuing or cooking it over an open fire is an image widely associated with cowboy culture – and one traditionally used – the most common method in modern times is to deep fry the meat.
- This means that you can then serve it on a sandwich or tortilla, or indeed eat it battered on a plate with side dishes. You can also bake the snake meat if you are looking for something less rustic.
- However, cooking over the fire is considered the best and tastiest method – as are broiling, pan frying, grilling, and sauteing. However, many people choose to cook this like they would a fish – frying it in breadcrumbs or batter to tenderize the slightly tough meat, and create a crunchy finish.
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