Snake and Whole Scorpion Soup – A Dish That Makes You Sweat With Fear

China is famous for many weird traditional foods, but the snake and whole scorpion served in Guangdong province is definitely among the most bizarre and downright scary dishes in the Asian country.

Arachnids and insects have been a part of Chinese cuisine long before the West even considered their nutritious value, but even here scorpion soup is not really considered mainstream. In northern China, deep-fried scorpions skewered like grilled meat are very popular as street stall food, but in the south, the arachnids are preferred as the main ingredient of a soup that also contains chunks of snake and pork meats, as well as a mix of spices. Despite the toxic poison of the scorpion, the dish is actually considered a detox dish.

Although scorpion soup is considered a part of Guangdong cuisine and general culture, you won’t find it on the menu of every restaurant in the province. Quite the contrary in fact, as the dish needs to be prepared by an experienced cook who knows how to extract the toxin out of the scorpion before cooking it, to avoid poisoning patrons.

Then, the scorpion needs to be stewed for at least three hours, along with the snake and pork as well as garlic, ginger, spices and some vegetables to release its juices and allegedly give the soup its detox properties. One thing is for sure, though, the dish is one of the most unappetizing soups you’ll ever see.

The taste however is apparently to die for. The snake – usually a variety of water snake – and the pork are very tender and taste great, and the scorpion, well, it’s technically not meant to be consumed as its medicinal qualities are already in the soup, but as the owners of one eatery told Radii China, most people try to eat it anyway.

Apparently, trying to eat the menacing-looking scorpion is not dangerous, but it’s ill-advised as the hard exoskeleton contains oozy innards of “questionable flavor”.


According to Chinese traditional medicine, snake and whole scorpion soup (蝎子汤) can help treat conditions like rheumatism, high blood pressure, convulsions and skin diseases. But most restaurants recommend it as a great and nutritious way to cool down on a hot summer day.