A few weeks ago, I received an email from a total stranger asking me if I would be a guest speaker at an offal night he was planning in his restaurant in Bournemouth. I didn’t know the restaurant but I liked the tone of his email. I also liked the idea of going to the seaside not to mention his enthusiasm for the Fifth Quarter. So, I said yes.
So, here are my tasting notes from my penis eating adventure. As I have already said, it was not a gastronomic experience but a fun and a very interesting one all the same. We ate in a private room and had our own dedicated waitress who, as you can see from the slightly hazy picture above, was very pretty. I wondered how she coped with male customers during and at the end of meals as they got more drunk and convinced of their increased strength — to become strong is the main reason for eating penis; strong is also the name or logo of the restaurant — but it wasn’t a question I felt I could ask despite being with two lovely Chinese friends who helped me find the restaurant and once there, decide what to order, translate, etc.
the long penis comes from an ox and the middle one from a donkey
The first time I read about people eating them was back in September 2006. I was intrigued and from that time onwards, I have been wanting to taste them. I did see them on sale once, in the market in Sao Paolo but they were raw. I had to wait another couple of years to achieve my culinary goal and finally, this afternoon I visited the penis emporium in Beijing.
Great news. Absolute Press are bringing out an expanded edition of my Fifth Quarter next year. To celebrate this, I thought I’d post a couple of videos I did recently of one of my food obsessions: lamb testicles. The last place I expected to see them was in the kitchens of Pistache d’Alep (the best baklava maker in Aleppo) where they have recently installed a separate butcher’s kiosk to prepare the meat for the kibbeh balls and lahm bil-ajine (meat ‘pizza’), which they also make there. Their butcher is a charming and very jolly man, who took great pleasure in showing us how to prepare the testicles for cooking. It is possible that this butcher ‘kiosk’ was a temporary installation because of the Eid. i forgot to ask. In any case, I am only sorry he wasn’t there when Andrew Zimmern filmed in the kitchens for his upcoming Syrian episode of Bizarre Foods. He would have loved the spectacle. And Andrew, if you are reading this post, I am totally flattered to be your new food-crush! I also loved spending that day with you.