Location: She Wong Lam, 13 Hillier Street, Hong Kong
The first thing I noticed about the She Wong Lam shop was the 毒蛇 (poisonous snake) signs on cages stacked up in the open shop front.
I was walking quite fast so I had to back peddle to take a look inside.
Standing at the back of the shop a group of guys were pulling snakes out of cages. I couldn’t see exactly what was going in so I stepped into the shop to have a closer look.
The walls of the shop were lined with wooden drawers, all with the ‘poisonous snake’ sign.
In the middle of the shop there was a stack of circular cages. I watched as a man pulled a live snake out of the cage, secured it’s head in his gloved hand and then curled its body around to get access to the place he wanted to cut.
A quick slice with the knife and a small blueish gland-like pouch was removed and placed in a bowl.
The snake was then returned and another taken out, the process repeated.
Here one of the men wipes snake blood off the floor as it wasn’t always the cleanest job.
Since returning from Hong Kong and doing some research it seems that it might actually be the gallbladder that was being removed. From what I understand the snake gallbladders are used for making a special snake rice wine that purportedly can help a man’s ‘stamina’.
The future will not have been bright for these poor snakes who, after being harvested for their various parts, will most likely end up chopped into the soup bowl of some impotent fellow.