I was reading a travel article by Nick Tosches in Vanity Fair on his search for opium dens in Asia. One section stood out for me:
Cobra soup—the more venomous the serpent, the more potent the tonic; gelatinous and steaming and delicious beyond description—garnished with petals of snow-white chrysanthemum. Later, amid the crowded stalls of the night market, we watch as an elderly Chinese man hands over a small fortune in cash to another elderly man, a snake seller much esteemed for the rarity and richness of poison of his stock. The snake man pockets the money, narrows his eyes, and with a studied suddenness withdraws a long, writhing serpent from a cage of bamboo. Holding it high, his grasp directly below its inflated venom glands, its mouth open, its fangs extended, he slashes it with a razor-sharp knife from gullet to midsection, the movement of the blade in his hand following with precise rapidity the velocity of the creature’s powerful whiplashings, which send its gushing blood splattering wildly. Laying down the blade, the snake man reaches his blood-drenched hand with medical exactitude into the open serpent, withdraws its still-living bladder, drops it into the eager hands of his customer, who, with gore dripping from between his fingers onto his shirt, raises the pulsing bloody organ to his open mouth, gulps it down, and wipes and licks away the blood that runs down his chin.
I have tried time and again in my travels around Asia to find any place that sells snake, without any luck. So I'm looking for advice here:
- Firstly, is it legal to eat a cobra or any other species of snake in Hong Kong?
- If yes, then where can I find it? Is there any particular locality or restaurant that specialises in it?
- The article mentions "a small fortune in cash" being required for payment. How 'expensive', in real terms, would this gastronomic experience be?