Food from The Philippines: Itlog (aka testicles)

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ August 17th, 2010. Updated on May 30th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Filipino food.
a plate of cooked testicles from the Philippines called Itlog

A plate of gourmet testicles (click to enlarge - you've been warned)

Bull testicles

Well, nearly every country has them. The Philippines is no exception when it comes to eating testicles. In this case, testicles of the bull or Itlog sa Baka. I will admit here, that I really don’t have a passion for eating internal organs. Just not my thing. I’ll also spare as many male genitalia jokes as possible.

How to find testicle soup in The Philippines:

I discovered “Itlog” quite by accident. In my normal friendly manner I saw some locals around a table eating what looked to be like a soup. My humble question to the type of soup got me the blunt reply –

“Balls … sir.”

A bowl of testicle soup from The Philippines

A bowl of testicle soup from The Philippines (click to enlarge)

Further inquiries sent the girls at the table into a spluttering mass of giggles as they pointed below my waist and confirmed they were eating bulls testicles. I’ve not seen this dish on offer anywhere.

So 50 pesos later and one of the girls went off to the secret chop house where testicle soup is made. Four days later (slow moving country) and, I had a plastic bag of hot liquid handed to me.

Squeezing it gently, I felt a large oval object slip away in slippery warm fashion. Yes, it seemed I now had a bag of testes in my hands.

A closer look at testicles in The Philippines:

I poured my sopa sa Itlog into a provided bowl and inadvertently splashed myself with goo as a large white object plopped into the bowl. It bobbed up and down in the translucent liquid before slowly settling down.

A few tentative pokes later and much to my disappointment, it turned out the large oval object was in fact an egg.

In The Philippines it seems you can’t have testicles without some egg to go with it. A spoon soon revealed where the meat of the dish was hiding.

The said testicles looked to have come under the tenderizing blows of a hammer, before being knifed to smaller portions.Compulsory male shiver over with I scooped out the remaining slices of bovine manhood for further examination.

Chopped bull testicle is an assortment of white and meaty chunks, tubes, gristle, and fat. I think the photographs below and in the slideshow represent it in far too good a manner. Blow it up to full screen mode for a closer look.

Email subscribers please visit my travel blog page to see the slideshow of testicle images

So what do testicles taste like?

The soup is like a generic any in The Philippines. Watery, and flavored with some sort of stock. Most likely from a packet that includes MSG. As for the taste,  not that bad.

There’s a few sprig’s of green lemon grass leaf, onion, and chili too. As for the meat of the dish? Well, the brown meat is beef like.

As for the white gristle … I asked the girls from the table as I handed them the bowl for further examination and taste testing. It turns out Itlog is a fine dish that’s greatly revered in the Philippines.

One girl had been eating it all her life. Only to discover today exactly what it was made from. She wasn’t very impressed.

Two other girls were too busy consuming to answer.

One guy joined in declaring, in a manly fashion, that “Itlog” was his favorite.

And, the remaining girl mentioned that they were an aphrodisiac. At which time I said my goodbyes and left them to their bowl.

Every country has testicles:

Intestines of all types for consumption are found everywhere in the developing world. Intestines are generally what the animal kingdom goes for first too. The nutrient content is very high, making them a valuable foodstuff.

I think many travelers have some across testicles in one form of another somewhere in the world. Whether they know it or not.

Sometimes a local will be too shy to explain it too you. Sometimes they just don’t know the translated word for something like “testicle”.

It took me awhile to find out that testicle is called Itlog in The Philippines.

I know now what to look out for in other bowls of mysterious meat from around the world!

This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting Food from the Philippines

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13 Great responses to Food from The Philippines: Itlog (aka testicles)

  1. Renny says:

    I don’t think I could ever bring myself to eating this. Ever! :)

  2. ciki says:

    huh you’ve never had balls.. what BALLS! LOL

    common in my country.. totally delicious .. cumi&ciki love it, so there:P

  3. LeslieTravel says:

    Yikes! It actually looks quite tasty in your beautifully shot photos :)

  4. Maier says:

    Hey, testis nourishing Oh, but I do not like.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I somehow missed this in the Philippines – not that I’m too upset over my loss. I don’t mind rocky mountain oysters, but I’m not sure I feel the need to try too many different types of testicle preparations. I did have some fun trying to explain what they were in Singapore, though.

  6. Great story here! I had a bowl of Soup #5 in Manila and it included some pretty mysterious cuts of animal within it. I’m sure there were more than a handfull of testicles in that soup. I also sampled a grilled goat testicle in East Africa…pretty fatty.

  7. Ninjarita says:

    Itlog must be slang, the caviar from lobster and crab is also called itlog. Eggs from chickens are itlog. Filipinos are famous for disguising the real truth.