A Beijing hotpot organ-ises Neil Connor's taste buds.

Holding aloft a half-metre-long horse penis, chef Xiao Shan confidently declares it "the most delicious" of the ingredients in a Chinese hotpot of male genitalia, one of many supposed Asian remedies to boost the libido.

Penises and testicles from donkey, goat, dog, bull and deer, the other donors to the $250 feast, are laid out on a kitchen table like a sorry-looking row of odd-sized sausages, all waiting to be sliced up by his looming, intimidating cleaver.

"The [horse] texture and the flavour are both very good. It is also good for one's health," says Xiao, who has been preparing male organs since he was 13, using skills handed down in his family for several generations.

Sourced from some of Asia's wildest and most rugged terrains, the organs are chopped up before being arranged on a bed of lettuce around an elaborate glass stand, more akin to something that might display fairy cakes or scones.


The dishes at Guolizhuang, China's only penis speciality restaurant chain, are popular among business parties and government officials, says Li Yanzhi, manager of the Chaoyang branch.

The vast majority of customers are male, she says, many searching for increased potency and sexual prowess at the restaurant, which also serves ram, yak, seal and snake - two penises each.

"Chinese people believe we can replenish different parts of our bodies by using the same ingredients, which means whatever you eat is nutritious for that part of your body," says Li.

"Eating penises and testicles can make a man enjoy a wonderful sex life."

Diner Wei Jingsheng, 47, is a devoted believer.

"It does work very well," says the 47-year-old construction businessman.

"After I took it, my hair stopped falling out and now I feel very energetic the whole day. Before, I needed to sleep at noon to not get tired, now I don't need to. Every aspect of my life has become fantastic."

The restaurant's nutritionist says its most popular dish is deer, seen as particularly effective due to each breeding male having scores of sexual partners.

"One deer penis has the same potency as three bull penises," says Du Yuemei, who goes to each table to enlighten guests on the supposed health benefits of the dishes and regale them with tales of the animal's vigour in the wild.

"I know my job is kind of unusual, but it makes me feel good that I am involved in dietary therapy for men. It's very unique," she adds, before leaving the room, a signal for the waitress to begin making the boiling soup, made up of deer heart, duck stock and Chinese medicine.

The first to emerge - steaming hot and the slices slightly shrivelled compared to raw - are the goat and bull penises.

The bull, having curled into a squid-like ring from the heat, has a familiarly beefy flavour, but with a firm texture not easy to swallow. The goat is tendon-like, rubbery and slightly stringy, like a flavourless, flaccid stick of liquorice.

Both donkey and horse penis were presented in bacon-like strips, but the neutrally flavoured donkey was dark, while the intense, meaty horse was easily the most distinctive ingredient of the meal.

In contrast, the testicles had lighter textures, varying from flaky to somewhere between tofu and pate, and often delicate tastes.

The deer penis is slightly frayed and also rubbery, while the wild Russian dog has a spicy, almost zesty flavour, despite looking like slices of undercooked pig skin.

It's both the only imported dish on the menu and the only animal to have a penis bone, ceremonially presented in a red gift box at the end of the meal for good fortune -- albeit not the original owner's.