Dr. Lee Grismer and his son, Jesse Grismer, a doctoral candidate, flew all the way to Hanoi and then faced a grueling two-day motorcycle trip out to a restaurant where the owner promised to set aside a stash of the creatures for study.
But there was a little problem, says Grismer.
"Unfortunately, the owner wound up getting drunk, and grilled them all up for his patrons... so when we got there, there was nothing left."
Faced with an empty tank and nearly dashed hopes, the men asked around at other cafes in the area for the local delicacy, and hired children to track down as many of the lizards as they could find.
What they received were 60 females -of a previously unknown lizard species that reproduces without males! Still, Grismer was obliged to eat some lizards to show proper etiquette to the local restaurant. How does it taste?
"You take a bite out of it and it feels like something very old and dead in your mouth," he said.
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(Image credit: Lee Grismer/La Sierra University)