Snake Soup

As the Cantonese saying goes: When the autumn winds begin to blow, the three kinds of snakes are now fat enough for a stew; which tells of the unique custom that southerners in China are fond of eating snakes in autumn and winter in their belief that snakes are a good tonic to health, nourishing, and stimulating blood circulation to promote vitality. In fact, the consumption of snakes was recorded as far as the Eastern Han Dynasty as reported in a classic called “Narratives of Exotic Events” written by Liang Renfang from the South Kingdom, who stated: "During a downpour of heavy rain, a green “dragon” fell from the sky to the palace. The emperor ordered that it be prepared for “Dragon Soup” and let his court officials share a cup of it. According, what was said of the “dragon” was indeed a snake. Then in the Northern Song Dynasty, a famous poet, Su Dongpo, traveled to Huizhou with his concubine Chaoyun. He bought some Snake Soup in the market. Chaoyun assumed that it was seafood soup and ate it. She soon felt shocked after being told that it was indeed snake meat. She soon fell ill and passed away afterwards. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, Kong Tai Shi, a.k.a. Official Kong, who was a renowned Scholar-Official selected through the last Central Examination held by the court. His father was a wealthy tea merchant. His grandiose residence was known as the Official’s Mansion, where he frequently held feasts and had his four master chefs prepare exquisite dishes. Official Kong had the taste and craving for culinary delights. He would have his chefs prepare his favorite Snake Soup in autumn and winter, using five kinds of snakes for the soup base, such as Cobra, Golden Band, Banyan Tree, Tri-ropes and Hundred Flowers and adding such ingredients of finely shredded Water Snake meat, chicken, abalone, fungus, and mushrooms to the soup, which was to be consumed with bits of thin and crispy chips and extremely fine mint leaf shreds. This exquisite and delicious dish was granted with the ultimate accolade by people from all walks of life and became a legendary dish widely known as the Official Kong’s Five Snake Soup. At that time, its extraordinary popularity had motivated quite a great number of people to open specialty shops for selling Snake Soup to cater to the demand of the craving public.

Recommended Restaurants

1) Se Wong Sun
Address: G/F, Fortune Mansion, Cross Street, Wan Chai
Telephone: 28916639

2) Snake Soup
Address: Shop 4, G/F, Lee Cheong Building, 218-220B Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai
Telephone: 22612929/90648135