Travel tips: penis restaurants
You wouldn’t believe it, but some restaurants are even weirder than that Bolivian pizzeria that keeps offering you a Groupon 96% discount on a fish dinner for two. Seeking for a theme to stand out against the competition they avoided classics like the old West or fantasy; Catholic horror and even “toilets” however were already taken, so their choice went – obviously – with penis. Now, keeping in mind that I am the guy who brought you to the boobs shrine, to the sex theme park and to the vibrators museum… how could I skip on such a sex oddity?
The genre forefather is called Guō Li Zhuàng Diàn. Founded in the United States in 1956, for unfathomable reasons it never caught on so the owner moved back to Beijing and reopened there – a shrewd move, judging from its current two-weeks minimum advance booking in all of its four locations. The restaurants are rather elegant, with private rooms and perfect table service. Their peculiarity is in the menu, which is entirely focused on dishes whose main ingredient is the penis of every sort of animal.
All the reviews agree in describing the texture of this particular anatomic part as terribly sinewy, while the taste ranges from «flavorless» to «revolting», no matter the preparation. So why should you endure such a dinner experience?
There are two basic types of clients. Those who take pride in tasting absolutely everything (in fact, la carte also offers peacock claws and sheep fetus in garlic sauce…), and the true believers in traditional Chinese medicine. This highly symbolic and entirely unfounded discipline mantains that eating genitals “energizes” your sex life, but also that each animal influences the well-being of a specific organ. The following clip, for example, describes snake penis as a godsend for your kidneys.
Whatever floats your boat, I suppose – although the lady’s expressions suggests the boat in question is very rapidly sinking. Should you dare to attempt this adventure, however, I found a painfully detailed recipe for you.
Thankfully, the Guo family restaurants remain unmatched. Curious travellers can stumble into dozens of less aggressively phallic-themed eateries all over the world, however. In the jovial village of Bucheon, South Korea – dubbed ‘porn city’ by the locals – there is for example Deulmusae. Opened in 1996 as a run of the mill family restaurant, one day it was visited by a Buddhist priest who commented how the place had « too much female energy, due to the vaginal shape of the land». No problem: the owners saw about that by changing the décor with countless dick-shaped items and statues, turning the place into a sort of pilgrimage site for Viagra-challenged men.
The phenomenon is not limited to the Far East. Bar Turrisi in Castelmola, a small Sicilian village, is featured on many travel guides for two reasons: the almond flavored wine invented by the owners’ grandfather… and the décor, who earned the place the nickname of ‘minchia bar’ (dick bar, in the local dialect). The idea of filling the two-storied pub with penises was conceived in 1975 when the owner fathered three sons. Following a very Sicilian logic, he wanted to celebrate his virility with a public display and the phalluses never stopped multiplying in every shape and form.
Be it an actual «homage to the Magna Graecia symbolic heritage» as mantained in Castelmola, a Chinese miraculous remedy or a questionable sense of feng shui like in Korea, it really looks like the rather juvenile attraction for anything “forbidden” is a boon to business. By the way: one of these times I really have to tell you about BDSM restaurants…