Shia Wong Hip

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 October, 2009, 12:00am

Fare Cantonese, offering dishes of exotic animals such as snake, hard-shelled turtle, wattle-necked soft-shelled turtle, crocodile and gecko.

Ambience Minus the snakes front, left and centre, this traditional Chinese restaurant can be quite homely - simple fold-up tables and chairs, a rusty ceiling fan that doesn't work, TV set high up on the wall, DVD and CD players underneath, plus Wi-fi connection for internet junkies. Located in the heart of Sham Shui Po market, the shop also sells snakeskin bags and belts. Expect to hear traditional Chinese songs blasting from neighbouring shops. Staff and guests are friendly. Make sure you don't sit near the entrance, though, where they keep a ready-to-be-cooked live snake. It serves as a constant reminder of what you are about to undertake.

Cost HK$50 to HK$100.

Turn-ons The thick snake soup (pictured right, top), made from five types of snakes, remains one of the all-time favourites. The snakes are all skinned and sliced and the tender meat tastes like chicken. Adding a pinch of shredded lemon leaves helps produce a citrusy aftertaste. The deep-fried king cobra skin, served in a clay pot, was a highlight with the chewy skin resting on a layer of cabbage and steamed rice (pictured right, bottom), over which was drizzled a sweet, thick sauce.

Turn-offs The crispy and spicy deep-fried snake with spiced salt (pictured right, middle) is served on a plate of lettuce leaves, and was extra spicy. You can choose to work your way up from the bony tail to the meatier upper torso or you can grab any of the chunks of meat you see first, but either way it was overcooked and tough. The bland crocodile soup, which featured chunks of pork and crocodile flesh, left a rancid aftertaste.

Drinks Snake wines are on display atop the chest of drawers where the snakes are kept, soft drinks.

170 Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, 23869064