In the name of February-love, lust, and Philippine folklore, I give you ten Asian (some uniquely Filipino) aphrodisiacs you may or may not have heard of. From the many forms of “Gayuma”, found bottled up in Manila’s Quiapo markets, to the more traditional eats that get us in the mood.
Myth, or Miracle? You decide.
How does crunching an embryo, with its feathery fetus, make you want to produce one of your own? I have yet to be enlightened.
The custard-creamy meat of this fruit is said to ‘smell like hell, but taste like Heaven’.
If you can get past the initial hit, the Davao-grown kind is addicting.
3. Bulls Balls
Also known as Soup Number 5 and apparently popular amongst jeepney drivers in Cagayan de Oro, this oily stew is made of chopped up cow’s testicles. Seriously.
4. Nata de Coco
What made the Japanese the biggest exporters of this Philippine coconut jelly-like chewables in the late 90’s is still a mystery, though I like to think they discovered the little white dessert’s potent-powers and just couldn’t get enough.
5. Cobra Meat
While other countries prefer to drink the reptile’s blood, the Philippines sometimes serves up this exotic dish Adobo-style. And you know, it kinda tastes like chicken!
6. Dog Meat
Cringe if you must, but this is one of the most talked about “aphrodisiacs” out there.
7. Ginseng Root
The Chinese sure do know their herbal medicine, and this one is said to help cure sexual dysfunction. The word “Ginseng” even means “man root,” most likely because of its forked (like a man’s legs) shape.
A little easier to purchase in supermarkets than the more exotic aphrodisiacs, this vegetable has worked its magic since 200 BC, when its consumers, the Mayans and Aztecs, used it for you-know-what.
9. Chili Peppers
Some like it hot! What better way to spice up a night than with that extra bite to your Valentines dinner?
Technically, it only numbs down the brain a bit, so this last item as an aphrodisiac is debatable (as are all the others on this list), but you weren’t actually going to plan your date without a glass of moonshine, were you?
Photography by Mel Gatchalian