Top 10 Asian Aphrodisiacs

A steaming bowl of greasy cow testicles in the countryside

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.

1.    Balut
How does crunching an embryo, with its feathery fetus, make you want to produce one of your own? I have yet to be enlightened.

2.    Durian
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.

8.    Avocados
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?

asian aphrodisiacs
Photo by Mel Gatchalian

10.    Alcohol
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


8 thoughts on “Top 10 Asian Aphrodisiacs

  1. Soup Number 5 in Bacolod is often made with pig penis. No joke. Let’s not forget to add oysters to the list. The best oysters in Bacolod come from Iloilo and these oysters are every bit as good as the ones I ate in Apalachicola, Florida.

    Hua Kong Chinese Pharmacy in Bacolod sells Red Ginseng Wine, made in Korea. One can also buy Chinese tonic wines in other places which tout deer antlers as the ingredient.

    Probably best of all is keeping in touch closely with your partner and never let the sparks get low. Keep the fire burning.

  2. Oysters are a good one! 🙂 But I purposely left it out of this list, in search of a few more unique ones. Have yet to try Chinese tonic wine with deer antlers–sounds interesting, thanks!

    1. You are welcome. I lived in China for 9 years as an English teacher and I saw many tonic wines. The saying is that the more critters in the tonic wine, the better.

      I have seen large jars of tonic wine with scorpions, seahorses, bats, lizards, deer antlers, snakes, turtles and frogs. All have the same purpose 🙂

      As a joke, some of my Chinese students gave me bottles of tonic wine with deer antlers a few days before my wedding. My lovely wife is not Chinese but she is from the Bacolod Area of Philippines.

      1. Oh yes, saw those big bottles with native scorpions in Saigon–tried to muster up the courage to try it but ended up chickening out, as the side street restaurant where we were was a little dingy…

        The Masskara Fest in Bacolod is the first Festival I ever visited and still one of my favorites! The Bacolodnons I met were lovely, lively people 🙂 Must go back again.

  3. One often overlooked aphrodisiac in Philippines is malunggay, known as the miracle vegetable. It is touted to be great when used to make tea and consumed. We have a farm and some farmers feed malunggay to farm animals and they claim the animal reproduction rate increases. So, it works in animals, too.

    It is nice to hear that you enjoyed the Masskara Festival in Bacolod. In the three years that we have lived here, I have found that the majority of people in Bacolod live up to the city name, “The City of Smiles.” A great place to live and raise children.

    The next great festival in Bacolod is Panaad sa Negros Festival, held April 9-15, at Panaad Park and Stadium. It is always a blast and we go every year. Every city, town and most municipalities in Negros Occidental have an exhibit each year.

  4. I love malunggay soup with ginger and chicken! When we were kids, we used to always pretend to cook with all those malunggay leaves. Miss that simple soup!

  5. Android says:

    I went to Hua Kong Bacolod today, I discovered that they carry a lot of different healthy stuff, I walked away with imported fish oil, sibut(aphrodisiac that I can mix with chicken), hopia baboy and hair dye(gonna totally rock the blonde look). This place is vintage looking though, they need to renovate it already unless that’s the feel that they want to project…

  6. A lot of good stuff at Hua Kong Chinese Pharmacy and grocery in Bacolod, which first opened in 1949. That is why it looks vintage. I bought some ginseng wine in Hua Kong several times.

    Chicken soup with sibut and glass noddles is common in China but the black chicken is commonly used.

    ~ Gary ~

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