They couldn’t pay me enough to try a bite of cooked animal genitalia, but there are people who would spend hundreds of dollars on delicacies like cooked yak penis or sheep gonads. These are the kind of foods that have made the Guolizhuang Restaurant so popular in China’s capital city.
According to a well-known saying, “Chinese eat anything with four legs, except tables. And everything that flies, except airplanes,” and the food served at the Guolizhuang Restaurant, in Beijing is proof of that. This bizarre establishment opened its gates in 2006, offering all kinds of dishes with animal genitalia as the main ingredient. Many Chinese believe animal penises increase male potency and do wonders for women’s skin, so word about the culinary wonders served at the restaurant on Dongsishitiao Street spread quickly, and the owners were happy to expand their business. There are now several franchises throughout Beijing and one in Atlanta’s Chinatown.
Photo: Rex Features
Eating at and even visiting the Guolizhuang Restaurant is not for the faint-hearted. Almost all the dishes served here are made from animal genitalia, although most of them are presented in an edible form and have interesting names like “The Essence of the Golden Buddha,” “Phoenix Rising,” “Jasmine Flowers with 1,000 Layers”. They sound pretty good, but they’re really just ox penises cut into the shape of stars, sheep gonads on a bed of curry, or thinly sliced donkey penis. The bizarre food is sometimes also eaten raw. Because the foods served at this restaurant is uncommon, even for China, part of the waiters’ job is to explain the properties of each dish to guests. For example, women should not eat testicles, because the hormones could give them a deeper voice and a beard, but penises are harmless.
The Guolizhuang Restaurant was apparently dreamed up by a man known as Mr. Guo. He left China in 1949, during the civil war, and moved to Taiwan, and later to Atlanta, Georgia, where he started studying traditional Chinese medicine, and experimenting with animal genitalia. Although they are mostly known for their potency boost, animal appendages are said to be low in cholesterol and are used to treat all kinds of ailments.
Photo: China Daily
Young people under the age of 15 aren’t allowed to eat at Guolizhuang because the hormones in the food can interfere with natural growth. Most of the clients are businessmen who often come here with Government officials because they need their help with something. What better way ro strike a deal than over a steaming dish of sliced animal penis, right? Another aspect that attracts this kind of clientele is the privacy guaranteed – all tables are set up in private rooms and booths, away from prying eyes.
Among the most expensive dishes served at Beijing’s penis restaurant are the yak penis (over $220), or the 10 assorted penises plate ($110), but for really special clients, Guolizhuang offers treats costing over a thousand dollars. One of these exclusive delicacies is tiger’s penis, which is valued at over $1,500 and has to be ordered several months in advance. And in order to get the opportunity to eat it, a client must first fill out an application for a silver, gold or platinum membership card.