Love You Long Time. The Real Deal Chinese Viagra. 7 Courses of Boa Constrictor in the Year of the Snake by Chef Lupe Liang. Bringing Ssssexy Back!!
7 courses of this.
First off, Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! It's the Year of the Snake. This is the time of year to eat mass quantities of yi-mein, lobster, dumplings, and sticky New Year cake then get blitzed doing beer shots at your favorite local Chinese spot...if you're an amateur.
As a pro, I celebrated Chinese New Year by joining Hop Woo's Chef Lupe Liang for a private family meal of boa constrictor. 7 courses of the lethal, muscle bound snake, from soup to fried nuggets, blood to bile, Chef Lupe Liang was doing the nose to tail thing for real!
Not available at Souplantation.
Snake skin salad sans ranch dressing.
Course 1: The epic boa banquet began like many meals do, with a salad. However, this was no run-of-the-mill salad. No way. This one was more like a slithering salad made up of the snake's skin. Slick shreds of its duo tone, patterned, scaly top skin as well the ridge-textured underbelly that functions as the boa's "feet" were used as salad toppings.
Super strength snake soup.
Course 2: Next, a steaming pot of soup brimming with pork, chicken and, of course, boa was presented. Enhancing it were miscellaneous Chinese herbs and roots that complimented the yang-ness or warming effects of the broth while bringing a savory medicinal flavor to the meat.
Course 3: Bite-sized nuggets of battered and fried boa tasted pretty much like, I hate to say it, chicken. There were also viciously tiny fish-like bones embedded within the fragrant meat. Red chili peppers punctuated the already heat-inducing dish.
Snake stew. Hearty & deadly.
Course 4: Hearty and chock full of daikon, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushroom, and snake, the boa constrictor stew, swimming in a thick, brown gravy presented in a traditional clay pot, was a meal in and of itself.
Boa blood & Chinese sausage. No innuendo here.
Course 5: Another clay pot dish followed the previous one, only this time it wasn't a stew but sort of a baked rice dish topped with a heap of sliced lap cheong aka Chinese sausage. The snake component was none other than boa's blood. Coagulated and brown, the blood had the texture of steamed egg whites. The flavor was subtle, not metallic like other blood I've consumed. Now, I literally had boa blood coursing through me.
Snake soup with daikon and boa guts.
No guts, no gory soup.
Course 6: The penultimate plate was another bowl of soup. This one had a lighter broth with daikon chunks floating on top and boa constrictor offals banished to the bottom. At this point of the massive meal, I could not discern between the snake's liver or intestine or tongue or tail. It was all becoming a haze of snake.
Green with gall.
You have some gall!
Course 7: Really, after the snake stew course, I was ready to call it quits. At that point of the meal, I began to feel some interesting and intense effects from the dinner. The skin on my body felt too tight (and not just around my waist). It seemed as if someone turned up the furnace in my body but I had no fever. Sitting still was torture therefore I had to get up and move, to walk, run really. A slight madness was encroaching.
So this is why course number 7, the shot of boa bile, was probably not a good idea for me to drink. Boa bile is extracted from the snake's gall bladder. In fact, the gall bladder is included in the shot if you are the guest of honor. Yay, lucky me, in my glass was the gall bladder.
And like most things bizarre or exotic in Chinese cuisine, the bile is purported to have special benefits for men. It's excellent for the man's virility, his "strength". It was Viagra, they say. If you've been offered enough exotic delicacies in your life, you know that this "Viagra effect" is inevitably hyped as a selling point for almost every strange food. I always called bullshit on these claims. But, of course, I never put them to the test. Until now.
After sipping the bile and eating the gall bladder, the very nucleus of my being started to rebel but it wasn't an upchucking sort of rebellion. (Although the flavor of the bile and gall bladder could've easily inspired vomiting since the taste was exactly like acid reflux after a night of binge drinking on bottom shelf rotgut.) Every molecule in me wanted to jump into the ocean or wrestle a grizzly. I needed to escape me. I was bursting at the seams. I could not physically contain myself any longer.
I left the dinner and sped down the freeway. I ended up paying an unannounced visit to a lady friend. My honest, innocent intent was to say hi and hang out. But when our hug turned into an embrace then quickly transmogrifying into an MMA submission hold, I realized then that I had underestimated, or rather, completely dismissed the boa constrictor and it's extraordinary essence.
This was a Jekyll and Hyde scenario that was triggered by the hug and released all the bound energy of a coiled snake, appropriately enough. My lady friend described to me the strange, piercing look in my eyes, the feverish heat on my skin, and my rapid breathing.
Gettin' all boa on you!!
Without going into TMI detail, I'll simply say I've never experimented with Viagra but I know how it's supposed to work. Ingesting this boa meal was equivalent to popping a Pfizer riser with the expected results. However, the increased body temperature, hyperactivity, and sensation of being too big for my body was something more. It was like being possessed. By the boa.
Now I understand the power of this delicacy. I'm no longer a skeptic who openly mocks the claims of eating snake. It's a potent animal and just as mighty a food with many a health benefits beyond achieving a solid stiffy. To be sure, it is a force as an aphrodisiac. Viagra before there was Viagra. It was as if the snake took over and ran the show which is my body. Even in death and as food, the boa lived through me. And for that I say respect to the snake on a plate.
LISTEN TO MY 7 COURSES OF BOA BANQUET STORY ON KCRW'S GOOD FOOD.