Weird Food Wednesday – Cobra Heart:  So they slit the struggling poor creature open right in front of you and place its still beating heart into a shot glass of its own blood. You drink it while it still pumps away… enticing, no?  NO!  Certainly not for those of us at Taste Winchester History.

At the very least this dish does not have a beautiful sounding name that is used to disguise the true horror of the alleged meal that is being presented.  Perhaps the only thing that could be considered dishonest about the dish’s name is that they left out the words “still beating” from it.  Of course you must have already known that this is a culinary delight in the region of Southeast Asia, Vietnam specifically, right next-door to Cambodia from whence we learned of the “delicacy” known as Fried Spiders.

Of course, reportedly this dish is of such high regard in Vietnam because its virility-enhancement properties.  We’re left wondering why things like ice cream, milkshakes, and something that doesn’t turn one’s stomach upside down don’t have such qualities.  No, apparently only the things that are stomach-churning and presented with abject savagery fit the bill.  Should you find yourself in Vietnam and you also find yourself wanting to try this dish, you can expect the preparation to go a little something like this:

  • Waiters who must also double as snake-charmers, bring your selection to the table.  Alive.
  • After several playful moments, you get to be thrilled by the unceremonious breaking of its neck.
  • Once these wonderful servers are done savagely ending the Cobra’s ability to strike you as you sit there sipping your water and wondering what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into, a large knife is brandished, the heart is located, and then the Cobra is skillfully sliced down the length and exsanguinated right before your very eyes into an empty bottle or dish.
  • Then the still-beating heart is cut out of the Cobra and dropped into a small glass.  Can you feel the yum?
  • Further cuts release the green bile which reportedly gives off an unholy odor, but is part of the whole virility experience, apparently.  (Editorial note:  Lima Beans are enough to kill the libido in me, just saying, they’ve lost me on the whole aphrodisiac angle here.)
  • Worry not!  If the stank of the bile is a bother, they will mix it with a very strong rice wine… right before they chop off the head of the Cobra and drain the venom into a separate glass, because if you’ve made it this far, know that you are to consume the venom as well.  In fact, you start feeding on this carnage after throwing down the venom.  Sound scary?  Well, rest assured, Cobra venom is apparently only deadly if administered intravenously, like say via a cobra snake bite.  That should put your mind at ease.
  • And now you’re ready to chow down on some beating Cobra heart.

Since all of that hot mess probably isn’t enough to satiate the hunger of the now super-virile male of the human species, the rest of the Cobra is stripped, processed, and served after you’ve completed the exotic, sex-inspiring part of this Vietnamese delicacy.  Did we mention that snake meat also “tastes like chicken”?  We’re not making this stuff up, folks.  So many of these weird foods “taste just like chicken” we are left to ponder why the people who have the unbending bravery to eat some of our features don’t just simply eat chicken!  For the love of all that is holy, just eat the chicken!