42-year-old snake vendor Kua Kwang Chong claims he has the answer for failing eyesight and backaches...
GV streets of Bangkok PAN to shoppers.
SV Mr. Kua pulling snake from basket as crowd watch (4 shots).
SV Mr. Kua holds snake while woman ties its head with string and shoppers look on (2 shots).
SV severed snake as blood is drained from it into cup.
SV Mr. Kua pours alcohol into cup of blood.
GV skinned snake hung on wall which is still wriggling.
GV snake vendor feeds snake's gall stone to hungry shoppers who washes it down with cup of snake's blood and alcohol.
SV man splitting snake skin and taking out gall stones.
SV woman opens her mouth wide and gets snake's gall stone dropped into it and washes it down with snake blood cocktail.
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Background: 42-year-old snake vendor Kua Kwang Chong claims he has the answer for failing eyesight and backaches...a tasty piece of Cobra gall bladder or gall stone.
Mr. Kua is a taxi driver during the week but sheds this image to become a snake vendor each Sunday. He operates from a stall in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand, and follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and father who were both snake sellers.
Mr. Kua's customers are mostly middle-aged Chinese, and they speak of the miraculous cures the snake vendor has brought about.
Although modest and reluctant to talk about it, when pressed Mr. Kua does tell the story of one 50-years-old patient who was brought to him on a stretcher but after a few mouthful of snake was only to walk away..no-one actually knows how far he got.
Mr. Kua's stall cum restaurant is fully licensed. Patrons are able to order cocktails with their meals. The drinks are of various vintages and are made to a secret recipe handed down from generations to generations in the Kua family. However, informed sources say the main ingredients are snake blood and cheap whisky..shaken not stirred. A twist of lemon peel is optionable.
Apart from Cobra, Mr. Kua also peddles the odd Black and Yellow Band snake (when in season).
He has five children of his own.. all confirmed snake eaters... and hints that sexual enjoyment is increased by chewing a little snake.
Nothing goes to waste at the stall and prices are quite reasonable. Cobra Au Naturelle (gall bladder, gall stones and blood) costs just 120 baht (6 dollars U.S.): snake-skins retail for 40 Baht (2 dollars U.S.) and what's actually left of the snake is sold to shoppers for backyards barbecues for around 100 Baht (5 dollars U.S.).
Mr. Kua sells about 20 snakes each Sunday and says the most palatable are those up to 3 years-old and from 3 to 4 feet in length.
But, of course, their main value is in their medicinal qualities, as Mr. Kua says, "snakes are very good for healing pain in hurt back."