The Beijing penis restaurant
There are some weird and wacky things to eat out there in the world. Over the years, I’ve tried scorpion, silkworm and even tarantula. But they were nothing compared to this experience of eating animal penis.
The first thing that surprised me was the actual restaurant. I was expecting a strange, small, dark establishment appropriate for the dodgy cuisine we were able to try.
In my mind this was quite a subversive thing to be doing and I thought the décor would reflect that – I imagined furtively glancing around at other patrons as we bit into a forbidden food, sharing an unspoken and guilty feeling of naughtiness.
So it was quite a shock to walk into a rather posh restaurant with private rooms, crystal goblets, gold cutlery and a personal waitress who would explain the health benefits of the appendages we were about to taste.
Apparently penis is quite a delicacy in China and the other rooms were full of businessmen who were clearly trying to impress.
The menu showed the types of penis we could choose and they certainly didn’t look too appetizing on paper. Still, we went with a platter that had three types of penis, as well as donkey meat and a turtle soup. (In the end I probably felt more queasy about the turtle than anything, but that’s a family thing.)
The waitress was very proud of the cuisine and went to great lengths to explain the food in detail (and in Chinese).
There was great health to be had from eating the penis and it even had aphrodisiac qualities.
The whiter meat was better for the women and the darker meat should be eaten by the men.
The meat was complemented by the broth it was cooked in and together they created a yin and a yang. And so on.
But I forgot most of the information when she put three plates on the table and described them as bull penis, lamb penis and black dog penis. We all gasped. My god, they looked like cock!
We stared at them for a while, not quite sure what to do. It had all seemed a bit of a laugh until the meal was actually presented, us staring at it and it staring back with its plates of one eyes.
I was also expecting the penis to be served in a stir-fry or a hotpot. But, no, they were just all piled up on a plate like a bowl of chips.
Now, I’m going to stop here for a second because the thing you need to know about eating penis is that the experience is not about the taste so much, but about the texture.
There isn’t a really strong flavour to it, especially when you dip it into a sauce. But there is a very distinct feel to the food as you chew it and let it slide down your throat.
You can’t just chomp away at this while you chat and drink. Each piece you put in your mouth is an effort.
The bull penis was the most like an actual meat – slightly sinewy and slimy it took a few bites before you could swallow and tasted pretty much like fat.
The lamb penis was like a tendon – long and thin in shape and chewy beneath the teeth. It had a slightly more distinctive taste that was somewhere between rubber and revulsion.
The black dog penis, though, had a rather dirty taste and was the hardest to swallow. It required a lot of chewing before it was soft enough and the flavour changed several times as the juices were released. This one needed a lot of sauce to make it palatable.
Needless to say, we didn’t get through all the food that was put on our table. I think our waitress realised we were here more for the experience than for a hearty meal.
Not all the food in Beijing is like this! There are some incredible dishes here and I would recommend discovering them with this fantastic food tour!
Towards the end of the dinner she even brought in a large gelato in the shape of an erect penis (complete with veins) that had been leftover from another room’s meal.
This may be a delicacy in China, but surely it’s all about the show for most of the customers because it’s not the most pleasurable dining experience you can have here in Beijing.
With so many great foods on offer, I’m glad we gave it a go and tried it. I won’t be rushing back, though…
If you are interested in discovering some GOOD food in Beijing, there are some excellent food tours of the city. I would recommend this breakfast tour of the hutongs for a very local experience. Or there are some other options here:
Where can I eat at the Beijing penis restaurant?
The restaurant with animal penis as its specialty is called Guolizhuang (锅里壮). There are actually a few different locations in Beijing but I would recommend going to the one in the Dongcheng District.
They hardly speak any English there, so it would be best to go with someone who can speak Chinese or you never know what you’ll end up putting in your mouth. Also keep in mind that it’s quite a high-end restaurant by Beijing standards so you might want to dress appropriately.
The English address is 34B Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district, about 500 metres of Dongsihitiao Bridge, on the south side of the road. But you can show these Chinese characters to a taxi driver to get you there: