HONG KONG -- There's no snake in the soup in Hong Kong this winter.
Restaurants report they're missing the main ingredient for one of their most popular dishes.
The snake supply dried up last year during the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak. China cut off the snakes when there was concern the deadly disease might have originated in wildlife.
Snakes have since been let off the scientific hook. But Chinese officials haven't permitted the resumption of exports. Hong Kong snake traders say the only ones they have are last year's frozen leftovers and less desirable Southeast Asian snakes.
Snake soup lovers claim the delicacy wards off colds and is an aphrodisiac.