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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Weird or disgusting food series: goat testicles

About a year ago we went on a business trip to Heraklion in Greece. Since we have a guy from Heraklion in our lab, I asked him if there was any interesting local food he could recommend. He recommended three things: snails, entrails stuffed with hearts/kidneys/whatnot, and goat testicles.

Some of these he said would be a little bit difficult to find in a touristy restaurant, but in restaurants serving traditional food they might have it if we asked (even if it was not on the menu). Snails were easy to find, and very good. The stuffed entrails we did not manage to find. As for the goat testicles, I asked at our hotel if they knew any place that served it. They said most places nearby did not but one might have it if we were lucky.

I took my Swedish colleague (my Japanese professor and my British colleague strongly objected to eating testicles and did not go with us) and a random Polish guy with me and set off towards the recommended place. I asked the guy outside the restaurant if they had "ameletita" and he laughed and asked me if I knew what that was. I said sure. He seemed impressed that we had not been tricked into asking for something disgusting but were actually there to willingly eat that disgusting thing. He went off to the kitchen and asked if they had any testicles today (it was not on the menu). They said they did have some, so we sat down and ordered a plate of testicles. The staff thought this was hilarious. We also ordered normal food. The staff were kind enough to tell us about goat brains and other dishes we might want to try in Greece too (though we did not have time to try any of those, if they even exist).

Fried goat testicles, and slightly more of them than we really needed...

When our goat testicles arrived, it turned out to be a small mountain of testicles. They must have castrate a small herd for our sake. We were thinking that something like one pair of testicles would be enough, despite my Greek colleague assuring me it is "delicious" and "one of his favorite foods".

The Polish guy had one testicle, which was one more than expected since he is not the adventurous type. My Swedish colleague had two. Then they said that since I had been the one trying to find this food, I would have to finish the remaining 20 or so myself... Which I did.

The inside of a fried goat testicle. Soft and squishy.
Goat testicle is not actually bad, though. It tastes pretty good. The texture is close to disgusting, but not really. It is a little too soft for comfort, but still fairly OK. The main problem is your mind going "OK, so now I have this huge testicle in my mouth and I need to chew it", which is a bit uncomfortable. After having 20 goat testicles, you kind of get fed up with the taste though. Five would have been enough.

The rest of the food we had at the restaurant was good, and the staff were very friendly to the crazy people ordering testicles. The restaurant also happened to be just across the street from the hotel my professor was staying in. Why he, who is Japanese, refused to eat goat testicles remains a mystery. In Japan people consider fish testicles a delicacy (and completely normal food), and though some people in Japan do not like that my professor claims to like fish testicles.

My Japanese friends back in Sapporo evidently thought it was hysterical when I twittered: "I just ate goat testicles" in Japanese.

Summary:
Taste: good.
Texture: almost bad
Look: a little disgusting
Overall impression: surprisingly OK, might eat again

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