Dicks soups are fairly widespread throughout Asia. Munchies reported onthe scene in China earlier this year, where the soup is popular amongst the 50 - 60 year-old demographic, but otherwise still quite niche. But in Malaysia, dick soup is abundant and its popularity is growing. I was unable to find any official numbers on the trend, but I saw it regularly while traveling through the country and was offered it so many times that finally it felt rude to not just give in.
"It is very good for the man's health," explained a street vendor named Muhammad Hafeez. "Real men eat torpedo soup." The aptly described dish is known to the locals as Sup Hameed. There are a few such aphrodisiac foods in Indian/Malay cooking but allegedly this is the strongest one, or certainly the longest.
Muhammad appeared with a two-foot long snake-like thing and started chopping it up. While chopping Muhammad explained that it might look big, but actually most of the appendage is inside the bull's body. "I get only one torpedo a day," he says. "And this makes me about ten bowls of soup and every day I sell out."
From a sexual liberation perspective, Malaysia might be one of the last places you'd expect to find a flourishing penis soup industry. Recently a group of teenage girls sparked outrage at a K-Pop concert when they were called onstage to be hugged by the band members. And yet in the same country, men are encouraged to eat meaty aphrodisiac soups in roadside stalls. How that sits with said young women who aren't allowed to be hugged, I'm not sure.
But it's not religious conservatism that's the main barrier to eating the delicacy, nor is it the loose, unscientific logic behind eating a big dick and having a big dick. The biggest deterrent when it comes to dick soup is the price. At between seven to fifteen Malaysian Ringgits ($3-6 AUD), the soup is one of the most expensive dishes at the local markets, but apparently it's on the cheaper end for soup aphrodisiacs. Just as popular is the Sup Torpedo Campur, a combination of bull's penis, goat's testicles, and horse penis, which sells for a record breaking 55 Malaysian Ringgits. Both are a similar combination of spicy curry broth and meat with two slices of Roti Bengali, which is type of Malaysian crusty bread.
Natural aphrodisiacs have been widespread through human history and common consensus is that the first record dates back to ancient Egypt where it was believed that eating lettuce improved men's fertility and stamina.
Martha Hopkins, who is the author of Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook told VICE that, "throughout history it has often been believed that foods which resemble body parts can aid those body parts, including sexual organs"
"Aphrodisiacs are all about the imagination," she says. "Whether you're eating a farmed geoduck or sipping hot chocolate, the mindset behind it is really what counts."
I tried to keep that in mind as my bowl arrived. It looked pretty good and the broth itself tasted just like most other Malaysian curries, but I just couldn't get over the meaty bits. The penis was tender but surrounded by an off-putting layer of gelatinous fat, kind of like an ox tail. I tried to chew and swallow the morsels but the centre of each contained these nodules of hard gristle, which were pretty gross. Needless to say it wasn't much of a turn on, and I'm still waiting for any extra manliness.
Photos by Judith Connolly
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