Anyone who knew much about my eating habits prior to my departure from the states will be the first to tell you that my diet was seriously lacking in culinary diversity. Chipotle, Panera, Domino's, BBQ Wings, Apple Juice and Beer. That about sums it up. I also had a budding love affair with meat calzones.
But since moving to Southeast Asia I've felt that I would be robbing myself of the true experience if I didn’t at least try every strange dish that is pushed across the table in my direction. So that is exactly what I have been doing. And it's been a lot less disgusting than I expected... until the Buffalo penis.
Up to this point (in addition to Tiet Canh aka the blood soup that I wrote about before) I have eaten dog meat, cat meat, small crabs that I swallowed claws and all, rice wine (liquor) with pieces of gecko floating in it, a strange assortment of exotic shellfish that I had to pry out of their shells with a crude metal pick, chicken feet, quail eggs and a wide array of other (often unidentified) foods.
Many of these were surprisingly good… but the Buffalo genitalia was another story.
It was Vietnamese teachers day, which meant that my classes were cancelled all week, save for dinner and drinks with a different group of my adult students each night. The consumption distribution here is usually a little bit lopsided in favor of more drinks and less dinner. Maybe that was the reason for my bravery that evening.
It was very soft meat… no pun intended. It just felt like when I bit into it my teeth went through a little too easily. Aside from that it had a strange texture overall… spongy almost. It was a light color. What I ate was almost certainly not an entire penis (I’m guessing that buffalos are better endowed than that) but it was one serving. And it was gross. Here are a couple pictures of small pieces of penis.
They were kind of like jelly filled donuts... just kidding. There was no frosting on top.
These were much less soft. They were a tougher meat. I had to chew through what felt like tendons and muscles to break them up enough to swallow. I cringed as I chewed because as a fellow man, I’m empathetic. It tasted and felt kind of like tough roast beef when I bit into it. The picture on the left I can only assume was a fat cross section of what was once one of the meaty ropes that the balls had dangled from.
Overall they both just tasted wrong. To be honest, I can’t give you an unbiased review of what they actually tasted like. My mind was made up on how they were going to taste before I even put them in my mouth. If I hadn’t known what I was eating it might have otherwise been my new favorite food. Regardless, I got many a slap on the back from my male Vietnamese dinner mates. ‘Good for men’ they said in loud, hearty voices with gestures indicating a general boost in manly mojo.
I didn't feel anything. Maybe I should have eaten more. Or maybe it's a bunch of witchdoctor nonsense. We'll never know for sure. Either way I think I deserve a few brownie points for all the inappropriate jokes I typed out but then decided to exclude from this. #growingup