While Snake wine might strike some people as the invention of a Western journalist in China who let his imagination run wild, we assure you, snake wine exists. Wikipedia has some essential details:
Snake wine is an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. The drink was first recorded to have been consumed in China during the Western Zhou dynasty and considered an important curative and believed to reinvigorate a person according to Traditional Chinese medicine. It can be found in China, Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia.
The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are not usually preserved for their meat but to have their “essence” and snake venom dissolved in the liquor. However, the snake venom is denatured by the ethanol; its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactive.
Snake wine is very real, and that preference by distillers for venomous snakes is what makes the following all the more terrifying:
Terrified neighbors fled their homes when a city was invaded by more than 150 deadly venomous cobras.
The snakes measuring between 20cm and 30cm – who were being kept by a distiller to make the ancient delicacy snake wine – had escaped into an alley in Foshan, a city in south-eastern Guangdong province of China, causing chaos.
“We had more than 100 calls in a few minutes,” said a police spokesman.
“They were popping up through cracks in walls, down gutters, out of drains, in alleyways and side-streets. Everywhere all at the same time.
Is everything under control? Nope:
So far only 100 of the deadly reptiles have been recovered by local snake experts.
Police confirmed that a team of snake experts are currently trying to capture the rest of the reptiles, but admit it could take some time until they are all caught.
Foshan, home to huge furniture and lighting wholesale markets, sounds like a lovely city…which we’ll be avoiding for the foreseeable future.
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