I now can say I have eaten snake. It's not that great. The taste is like the exact mix of chiken and fish. The meat is white, the texture stringy and dry like chicken, but the taste is slightly fishy and chickenish at the same time. But the hightlight was not eating the snake, but how we came to eat it.
So yesterday, most people were swimming in the river, but I decided to go back to the hostel with Bing, our leader and the Danish couple. We start talking about weird foods that we have seen on menus and in markets and someone brought up snake. I don't really care for snakes, but I am not afraid of them either. I think they are a little icky and would never own one, but I would much rather cross paths with a snake than with a roach. Anyway, when we get to the hostel (which is in a RURAL...RURAL part of China let me give you a clue-one main road, everything else is dirt roads and chickens and cows take up most of them) Bing asks the owner where we can get some snake. He laughs and they start talking in chinese and we are just looking at them and then Bing says, come and we will pick out a snake for dinner.
It turns out that in this village there is a snake catcher. Of course!! When I was choosing majors, I never thought this was a career, but it is! and a very lucrative one. Well, we enter a real life chinese village hut (running water and electricity, but very very simple concrete floor, just one bedroom) and he motions us to the barn, where there are empty mosquito net-like sacks. We had gone there to chose a live snake that they were going to cook for us. It was so strange to stand in this man's house choosing a snake. He pulled out all kinds of wild non-poisonus snakes and let us hold them. He then weighed them and bartered with Bing in chinese. We finally picked a big fat one and settled on about $20. He then showed us a cobra!! At that point Chrystal and I were half out the door. But this man is a professional. He wasn't going to let that Cobra run away.
So after our adventure, we got to see how they killed and skinned the snake. I didn't look when they killed it, but I did see when they ripped out the skin in one piece. WOW! Then they took it inside and 30 minutes later it was in some sort of soup.
I have to hand it to the chinese for not wasting food. I have never seen so many animal parts sold and eaten out like that. Entire chickens, head and feet are served on the table. Chicken feet specially are sold separeatly as a snack. There are numerous kinds of cured meat, packaged in a vaccuum sealed plastic and sold everywhere. At the meat market they have all kinds of birds, eggs, un-laid eggs and creatures. Frogs, scorpions, all types of fish some still alive others fried or salted and dried. They deep fry the entire shrimp eyes and all. At the beginning I was kind of apalled and perhaps a little disgusted, but really, it makes so much sense. Why be choosy and wasteful? After all who decided that steak is ok, but brains are not. It's still shocking, but I have come to terms with it. Especially after being out in the country and seeing how hard life can be. I feel eternally blessed that I don't need to harvest rice until I am 80 in order to survive.
But yes, they do eat dog. I have seen it cooked, raw, and in all it's forms.