Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Virility without viagra on menu at Auckland restaurant

Move aside Viagra, there's a new soup in town that some swear is the new libido-enhancing king.

The Filipino dish, known only as Soup Number Five, looks like regular meat soup, but has bull or ox penis as its main ingredient.

And Boracay Garden Restaurant, a Filipino restaurant at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland, has recently added it to its menu.

"It is quite infamous and anyone who knows anything about Filipino food will know Soup Number Five," said restaurant co-owner Stuart Bennett.

"Now because of its main ingredient, the soup is believed to have aphrodisiac and healing properties."

Bennett said the decision to put the dish - a popular street food in the Philippines - on the menu came after requests from diners, mainly Filipino men.

Filipino Louis Cruz, a dairy worker, who often ate the dish back home, believes in the "power" of the soup.

"The power from that part of the bull that we consume is being passed on to us, we believe," Cruz said.

"This is our secret weapon, and that is why Filipinos don't need Viagra."

Cruz described its texture as "chewy, gummy and spongy" and said it tasted very much like "soft tender cartilage".

Legend has it that the soup got its name because restaurants did not want to label its explicit ingredient.

They would list on their menu four types of soups - chicken, pork, beef and seafood - and an option "5" to lessen the shock factor.

Ingredients used in the soup include the bull penis, testicles and other organs such as lungs and liver, with a mix of Chinese herbs.

Preparation involves up to eight hours of boiling, and the meat being chopped into bite-sized pieces.

According to Bennett, it is mainly the testicles that give the broth its creamy, oily texture.

Massey University sociologist, Professor Paul Spoonley, said when it came to the local market, it would take a "brave or adventurous" diner to try such a dish.

"There are European equivalents, black pudding, kidneys or liver, but these are not part of the experiences of New Zealanders," Spoonley said.

But he said the size of Asian communities now gave restaurants the confidence to serve food that appealed to immigrant food memories.

"Some restaurants don't see the need to adapt for local tastes.

"There is a market that has increased in size and which now generates its own demand," he said.

- Herald on Sunday

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