I love soup. I grew up on soup, and it's still my favourite comfort food.
Even on a warm summer day, a hearty bowl of soup fills the soul and warms the cockles of your heart. But when you’ve had enough of chicken soup or carrot with ginger or even mulligatawny, what’s left? For those with more adventurous and exotic taste buds, here are five of the more unusual soups from around the world.
Chicken Testicle Soup – Taiwan
Didn’t know chickens had testicles? Well they do, and a tasty bowl of soup they make. This soup could almost pass for the chicken soup famous across North America, but look closer and rather than typical chicken meat, you will find white matzo-ball-looking rounds floating in your bowl. Creamy, with a Jell-O-like consistency on the inside, chicken testicles are believed to have good side effects—good skin for women, and virility for men. Such benefits make it hard to resist a bowl, or maybe a cup. A spoonful?
Iguana Soup – Aruba
Tasting a bit like rabbit and a little like chicken, iguanas, also known as bamba chicken, are believed to be an aphrodisiac. It’s their two penises (really just one, split into two) that gives them this distinction. So it’s no wonder this soup is sought-after on the island. It’s a vegetable broth in combination with iguana meat, which is both bony and scaly, but really, what’s a few bones and scales when virility is at stake?
Snake Soup – Hong Kong
Found throughout Hong Kong, snake soup is a winter favourite. Visit one of the city’s live snake restaurants in Kowloon, where you can choose your snake from behind a cage. Then watch as your snake is taken away, and eventually re-appears at your table in your soup bowl. The soup itself is broth-based with shredded snake meat. And as with many exotic meats, it tastes like chicken.
Birds Nest Soup – China
One of the most expensive soups in the world, birds nest soup is made from the nests created by tiny swiflets. The soup is a delicacy that has been made in China for hundreds of years, with the best nests being reserved for the emperors and empresses who ruled China. The swiflet saliva-created nests are believed to hold powerful medicine, including providing lifelong immunity boosts for children and erasing wrinkles for mature matrons. This explains why a vast population is willing to pay large amounts of money for a small nest. And have I mentioned it’s believed to enhance sexual prowess for men?
Lanciao – Southern Philippines
In English, this soup can be called bull or ox gonad, as it’s made from bull testicles and phallus. In southern Philippines, it is called lanciao, and be warned, it is not for the faint-hearted. Once again, it is a soup believed to have very potent aphrodisiac benefits, although there is no scientific evidence supporting this claim. The “meat” is washed, cleaned and scalded with boiling water. Then it is cut into pieces and simmered until tender. Vegetables are added, making this an aromatic and healthy soup, with potentially positive side benefits. So, why not give it slurp next time you see it on the menu?