Are You Game?

Taking a break from my Korean trip posts which I needed to sort out some addresses (hopefully), here’s one from Macau that is short and sweet!

Snake meat – Short and sweet. Yup! 😉

Macau 2014

Macau (澳門 pronounced as Oh Moon/Ou Mun in Cantonese), a former Portugese colony (sovereignty over Macau was transferred back to China on 20 December 1999), is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with the other being Hong Kong.

Macau 2014

Before the Portuguese settlement in the mid-16th century, Macau was known as Haojing (濠鏡, literally “Oyster Mirror”) or Jinghai (鏡海, literally “Mirror Sea”). The name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple (媽閣廟), a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Matsu – the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied “ma ge” (媽閣). The Portuguese then named the peninsula “Macau”. The present Chinese name 澳門 means “Inlet Gates”.

Macau 2014

The territory’s economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism but also includes manufacturing.

Macau 2014

After dinner, we went to a karaoke and later in the night, someone dabao-ed some food, “tidbits” to go with the drinks.

Snake meat is generally accepted as a healthy exotic game food in Asia even though not all Asians are game enough to try it. Especially not the majority of Singaporeans as we do not grow up with game food culture.

Macau 2014

I have eaten Snake Soup (蛇羹) before but meat bone-in, this is my first!

Snake meat is considered “warming” food. Ancient Chinese medical journals have included it as cure for bodily ailments, nourishment for the blood, increasing “qi” which is the energy levels in one’s body. Mixing the blood of snake with alcohol, i.e. brandy, is also believed to enhance a man’s libido. Some women believe that drinking this cocktail of blood and liquor can improve their skin.

For over 2000 years, snake soup has been regarded as a “high status” delicacy because of the varied expensive accompanying herbs used in cooking as well as the complicated culinary preparations. Snake meat is also lauded in the Chinese culture for its alleged medicinal benefits and high nutritional value. In TCM, introduction of snake bile in a sufferer’s diet can also help alleviate certain conditions like rheumatism, stopping coughing and purging phlegm. However, pregnant women and people with asthma, diabetes and heart diseases are not recommended to partake snake dishes.

My friend Nicholas commented on my FB wall’s photo, “Everybody tells me the same…. Since you tried, taste like chicken???” To be exacting, the reptile masticated more like the amphibian we have on cze char menu! Like deep-fried frog legs, they were a teeny weeny bit sinewy or stringy but tender enough to be chewed and swallowed.

According to my Macanese hosts, the one I had was anorexic, lol… Autumn or Fall is the best time to *eat snake as it would be eating a lot to fatten up and get ready for hibernation. They said the snake’s meat would be more juicy and less sinewy. Snake meat is light pink in colour and thus considered white meat, can I safely assume that?  The scrawny chopped pieces we had looked innocent to me at first glance but I had to ask. Some friends jokingly said it was fish. Indeed, one can liken the snake meat texture to fish albeit chewier although it does not have strong gamey odour or taste. Like all meats, snakes are full of protein.

Snake meat contains protein like any other type of meat. Protein is the ‘building blocks of life’ and plays a large number of important roles i.e. immunity and repairing of the human body, including muscle growth. In fact, the human body is about 45% protein. Protein provides amino acids the body cannot obtain any other way, which do everything from building cell walls, to regulating hormones and muscle contractions for respiration.

Snake meat contains roughly 93 calories per 100g (3.5 oz) of raw meat, depending on the type of snake. This is roughly half the calories and one third the amount of fat of a similar amount of sirloin beef steak. Fewer calories and less fat content for the same weight of meat can aid dieters in controlling their weight.

Snake meat is relatively low in fat and calories, high in protein and some consider it a rising star in the food industry. However, like any type of meat, it should be prepared and cooked carefully to ensure it does not result in infection or food poisoning.

With all the purported health benefits, are you game? 😉

But seriously, is there any scientific evidence to the nutritional value of snake meat in block quote above? I honestly do not know. I ate the meat not for the beliefs in health benefits but because it’s supper for the night.

Greedy.

Guilty!

Happy venturing 😀

P.S. Generally, Singaporeans do not ‘eat snake’ as a delicacy but we do use this term often. In Singlish (colloquial Singaporean English), the term ‘eat snake’, formed by two Hokkien words “jiak” (eat), “zua” (snake) means slacking or to sleep on the job.

Click to see other posts on Macau:
MACAU – WHAT’S YOUR GAME PLAN?
MACAU – JUST DO IT? JUST DID IT!
RISTORANTE IL TEATRO 帝雅廷意大利餐廳 @ WYNN MACAU 永利澳門酒店
TEMPURA @ TENMASA ALTIRA MACAU 天政澳門新濠鋒
PORTUGUESE CUISINE @ GUINCHO A GALERA 葡国餐廳 (MACAU)
PETRUS RESTAURANT 碧翠轩餐厅 @ THE LANDMARK HOTEL MACAU
FUSION CUISINE @ SMILE HOUSE 笑面府 (MACAU)
CAFÉ CHÉRI 路環常喜 (MACAU)
ANDREW’S EGG TARTS – LORD STOW’S BAKERY 澳門安德魯餅店官方 (MACAU)
TASMANIAN ABALONE FEAST @ KING RESTAURANT 帝皇樓 (MACAU)
THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE @ KING RESTAURANT 帝皇樓 (MACAU)
ESTABELECIMENTO DE COMIDAS KING 帝皇樓 (MACAU)

Information on Macau credit: Wikipedia

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