In the Philippines, Soup Number Five is well-known, as are its purported aphrodisiac and healing properties. Some men believe that eating it will give them the physical capabilities and virility of a bull, or at least enhance their libido. To the unsuspecting consumer, Soup No. 5 resembles a typical meat soup. Its claim to fame? The use of a bull’s penis and testicles. Though individual variations and secret recipes abound, the defining feature is the genital component.
How the dish got its name is uncertain, but popular food lore points to marketing tactics. One explanation says that restaurants explicitly labeled their first four soups: chicken, pork, beef, and seafood. Then, the fifth option would be left cryptically unelaborated upon—perhaps to intrigue the customer, perhaps to avoid getting into details.
Where to Try It
Café Mezzanine650 Ongpin St, Manila, 1006, Phillippines
This urban cafe sells a fragrant Soup No. 5 containing cow genitals cut up into innocuous, unrecognizable pieces.