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Catching snail on mountain

(BGO) – Not living in pond, river, spring, this strange snails are abundant at the primitive forests in Tay Yen Tu land, thus it is called mountain snail by the native people and becomes mountainous specialty. Some local residents in the highland of Son Dong (Bac Giang province) have recently gone catching snails to gain more income.  

Searching for heaven gift

On a trip to the highland of Son Dong, I have heard about the mountainous snails living in the soils and stone on specific season. But only after the heavy rain I could have chance to go catching them on mountain of Tay Yen Tu town together with Nguyen Van Hai.

Catching snail on mountain, Bac Giang province, Tay Yen Tu land, delicious dish, precious medicine, strange snails, mountainous specialty, highland of Son Dong

Nguyen Van Hai is happy with the caught snails in the forest in a morning.

We must highly focus to find the snails because their hard shells look like the rotten leaves. The snails are flat in shape and big with white and grey shell which ends by red or white line to distinguish them from the water snail.

With 3 kg of snails catching on mountain, Hai can sell for 50,000 VND (2.16 USD) per kg to earn 150,000 VND (6.47 USD) in a morning.

In some lucky days when the snails seemed to gather together, he and friends could catch dozens of kg to earn millions of VND in a morning. Thus the local residents consider mountain snail as the heaven gift which offers both food and income.

Precious medicine

Knowing that the mountain snails regularly get out to feed themselves and search for partners when it rains after hot days, Hai and the native people take proper time to go catching them. The high demand for this source of food leads to an ease of consumption.

Hai said his grandparents told that the locals here went catching snails to grill for food whenever they went to forest to earn a living long time ago. But recently snails have become a commodity for sale. For the native people, mountain snail is not only food but also precious medicine.

By the way, Hai took me to meet Than Van Hien in Dong Ri residential area, Tay Yen Tu town who provides traditional herbal medicine in the area. According to Hien, mountain snails mostly eat leaves, especially Nicotiana in the forest.

Long time ago when the drug was not popular, the locals used the snail to treat several eye diseases by burning it to ash, dissolving the ash into water, filtering it into a solution for eye drop or face wash. Besides, snails were used to treat several digestion diseases.

Forest and specialty preservation

Mostly relying on leaves and fog, the mountain snail is quite clean so it takes about haft an hour for preliminary processing step by dipping it into water.

Catching snail on mountain, Bac Giang province, Tay Yen Tu land, delicious dish, precious medicine, strange snails, mountainous specialty, highland of Son Dong

The mouth watering snail braised with young banana and fried tofu.

Mountain snail now becomes attractive food to visitors to the highland of Son Dong with various dishes such as steamed snail, salad, boiled snail, grilled snail, snail with bamboo shoot...The crunchy and fat taste surely create unforgettable memory and unique flavour in Yen Tu forest land.

According to the Director of An Lac Community Tourism Service Cooperative Vu Ngoc Huan, these dishes are among the widely preferred ones by numerous customers but not available at anytime. Many people order the snails to bring home as precious gift.

The locals said that the quantity of mountain snails gradually reduce because of the highly increasing demand. To preserve the specialty, the local authority and native people are joining hands to protect the natural forest, avoid over-exploiting and only catch snail manually.

Many hope that the agriculture sector should research the method to raise this kind of snail to gradually develop the economic model to supply the product all the year round so as to meet the market demand and partly increase the local income.

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Trinh Lan

Catching snail on mountain, Bac Giang province, Tay Yen Tu land, delicious dish, precious medicine, strange snails, mountainous specialty, highland of Son Dong
 
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