Unforgettably exotic dining
in the 'snake den'
By Daniel White
Translated by S. Ying
72, GongYuan Rd, Central Dist
Hours: 12 pm-3 am
Credit cards accepted.
Zhan Jia She Gu Da Ren(詹家蛇谷達人) is a unique place that shocked and surprised even my Taiwanese friends. This restaurant is true to its name, which roughly translates to "Zhan Family Snake Den", serving seven-course meals with each course crafted carefully from snake. Some dishes were hard to eat because there is definitely a weirdness factor to overcome but, once you dive in, you will enjoy each dish more than the last.
My foray into reptilian cuisine started with a plate of stir-fried snake skin with cucumber. It was soft, a little chewy and lightly flavored. The first bite was tough but I quite enjoyed this dish. The second course, however, was difficult to swallow. A small pitcher is filled with a green liquid created from Snake liver bile. Although alcohol was mixed in for flavoring, the taste of bile didn't sit very well with me.
The next dishes were all quite good. A soup with Chinese herbs, snake skin and snake meat was delicious. The accompanying drink made from the blood was also very good, and tasted a little like Rum and Coke. The fifth dish was a three-cups snake meat dish with green vegetables that tastes pretty similar to its chicken counterpart.
The sixth course, made from snake liver and penises, again had a bit of a shock factor but ended up being quite good. The meal finished with another soup made of snake meat in a light broth.
For a total of NT$2,500 for four people, the price is reasonable. If you feel like a culinary adventure, Zhan Jia She Gu is located on GongYuan Road, steps away from ZhongHua Road, several blocks north of Taichung Park. However, the highlight of my meal wasn't the food itself but owner Mr. Zhan's showing us the still-beating heart of the snake...so that we would know it was fresh, I presume.
While I can't guarantee that you'll like everything served to you here, I'll bet that you cherish the experience and have a great story to tell your friends later!