WARNING: If watching snakes being skinned or blood makes you queasy, I would advise you not to watch the videos below.
If you want to try the snake soup in Taipei, you can go to a famous night market called Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market (華西街觀光夜市), located near the Longshan Temple. You can see the main entrance of the market below. This one is definitely meant for the tourists, not the locals, so you’ll see many foreigners there.
At a length of just two blocks, this is the first designated tourist nightmarket in Taiwan and it’s famous for the vendors that will sell you snake soup, medicine, wine, and cooked dishes. Unfortunately…due to its age, this is also the oldest night market, and in recent years has lost popularity and visitor numbers have dropped. However, it is the novelty of the snakes that will keep them coming though, just like me.
When I was younger, I saw many snakes in cages at the nightmarket while I was out with my mom. At first being my young self, I thought “oh sweet, I can buy a pet snake!” until my mom told me that people EAT the snakes. Whaaat! I begged and pleaded her to let me try, but apparently 8 year olds aren’t the prime candidates for snake soup and blood, so it was a no go. That and she wasn’t convinced that snakes are clean. Funny how she would let me eat nightmarket food from the streets. That shit is some of the dirtiest (but best) food in the world. I actually think I’ve gotten sick from food in the Western world more than food in the Asian world in my entire life so far.
When we were walking down the street, so many of the storefronts were so disappointingly empty, giving off this sad vibe to the entire nightmarket. Many of them have signs up saying not to take pictures or videos, but what’s the point of that really? Who’s going to steal your ideas? You’re all selling the same thing!
Some of these snakes were really quite beautiful. The one above lunged at James just before I took this picture, he was pretty freaked and jumped about 2 feet in the air.
So since this particular store had no signs up (that I could see) and was also looping some clips about his store, we decided to settle for this place.
Sadly though, these snakes weren’t the ones we would be eating in the soup later. They’d be going into the soup for later though.
All 4 of us ordered the soup, and Kevin opted out of the snake blood shots. Snake Soup was $150NT or $5CDN. The three shots itself was just a measly $3.30.
First up, the soup. It was an extremely clear herbal soup with some Chinese stuff in it, as you can see the red date and some goji berries.
Honestly it was just like your standard Chinese herbal clear soups. except there was snake meat in it instead of chicken. This may be a cliche, but the snake meat really did taste like chicken..just with a hell of a lot more bones. After we finished off the soup..it was time to move onto what I’ve been anticipating ever since I’ve known of its existence.
From Left to Right: Snake Blood, Snake Bile, Snake Venom “Antidote“
Now in this video, we’re taking the shots. You can actually see me gag a bit when I downed the blood one..the combination of the saltiness, alcohol and warmth was just too strange for me.
These strange looking pills with no real description or information given to us by the server had Victor freaked out a bit. To fly from Canada to a country he’s never been to before and drink snake blood and Chinese liquour with random pills definitely is not what he imagined to do, but we assured him it would be okay. Plenty of people have done this before us, so if they can..we can too.
Travel Tip #1: Buy travel insurance!
The main attraction of this nightmarket is for the snakes, but there are of course other things… such as the ever present oyster omelette all over Taiwan.
There was also this interesting half egg dipped in fish ball batter and fried.
Fruit is always good, not necessarily the freshest but always available.
End the night with a drink in a plastic bag to beat the heat.