Those stuck in the perpetual traffic jam at the Simpang Siur intersection in Bali at the Dewa Ruci underpass project may have seen an “Art Shop” on the south side of the Jalan Bypass, roughly opposite the BIMC Hospital.
The Art Shop is a small ruko shop offering a truly unique range of products. Step inside the store and be greeted by row after row of special cages housing hundreds of live snakes, largely poisonous, that once selected will be fried, roasted or turned into soup at the customer's pleasure.
Quoted by Beritabali.com, Anita Tambunan who works as an attendant in the shop said: “The most popular item ordered by foreign visitors is fried python, the meat of which is thick and tasty. The taste is not much different from chicken meat. Meanwhile, local tourists prefer the special medicinal powers of this snake.”
The spices used in frying a python are very similar to those used in fried chicken. The basic ingredient call for garlic, shallots, sweet soy sauce and ginger.
Those preferring their snake served as sate marinate the meat in sesame oil, sweet soy sauce and then cooked over coals.
Snake soup uses a wide range of herbs and spices, depending on the specific type of soup ordered.
Other exotic meats served from the shop include monitor lizards, monkeys, bats and crocodiles. Presentation is also important, each serving is decorated by tomatoes or other decorative vegetables. The average prices ranges from US$10 for Cobra Soup to US$30 for Crocodile Sate. The above prices do not include 10% tax and service.
The shop also stocks a range of traditional medicines available for sale to the public.
While a chef is in charge of the kitchen, the majority of the staff are women accustomed to handling poisonous snakes, bats and other exotic species in the course of their day’s work.
In slaughtering the reptiles and animals, special care is taken to reserve the fresh blood, a substance much sought by customers for its perceived medicinal and healing powers.
Anita said handling snakes is second nature and all a matter of knowing how to do one’s job in what would be a highly dangerous job for someone unfamiliar with the reptiles.
The Art Shop is open daily from 9:00 am until 10:00 pm.
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