Maybe you move in different sorts of circles, but I have been told a couple times to eat a bag of dicks. Not to my face, but I read it a lot. It is very evocative and memorable. I have never partaken of this bag, however.
I have eaten cod sperm sacs several times, either doused in ponzu and grated daikon radish, improbably battered in tempura coating and dipped in salt, or grilled gently on a slab of pink Himalayan salt. These were all good ways to eat fish sperm. I have also had poached rooster testicles, simmered in a hot pot seasoned with scads of Szechuan pepper. These were also good.
But I had never actually consumed animal dong (don’t worry, I will try to use as many slang words for wiener as possible). That is, until Matt — who was the first person to tell me about the Talad Rot Fai years ago, despite being from New York — mentioned a particularly memorable meal at Wattana Panich where he had both beef and goat wang for lunch.
I haven’t been to Wattana Panich (336-338 Ekamai Soi 18, 02-391-7264) since I first moved to Bangkok in 1995. A mangled cockroach in the chili pepper-studded vinegar made me not want to return ever again. But Matt made me want to go back, as did many, many publications such as BK Magazine, which exhorted readers to revel in the “lumpy and gooey” beef broth (said to be 40 years old, simmering in a vat that is topped up with more broth daily but never washed out). They also recommended customers try “their famous goat meat in Chinese soup, too” which may or may not be a nasty trick to play on unsuspecting readers.
In any case, diners eyeing the goat meat may opt for the “thua un thua diew” (literally translatable to “one per body”, 200 baht) and risk the shady side-eye of the servers, who will act like you have just ordered a porn video on the corner of Nana Road. After pointing you out to the other servers, they will eventually come back bearing the “thua un” in a “lumpy and gooey” broth, just like its beef counterpart, which is a tad cheaper at 180 baht.
Both meats are tender, as soft as anything I’ve ever been served in a bowl which isn’t sperm. That doesn’t sound great but it actually is, because sperm sacs are very soft indeed. I suspect it’s more about the texture than the broth itself, which looks goopy enough for Gwyneth Paltrow and bears the mild flavor and faintly medicinal aroma of many of my least favorite Chinese dishes. Beef tasted better to me than goat, which was both gamey and gloopy, a double-handled chore. Surprisingly, my husband — who loves both Cantonese food and beef noodles — did not care for it, either. Maybe because there’s no hiding what it is, a bowl of doinkers.
And finally: in the pickled chilies, another bug. A little one this time.
Despite all of this, it is packed to the rafters, one of the few street food shophouses left that still draws everyone, from all corners of society, to its tables. This is genuinely the case of a place that is just not for me. We finished our lunch next door, at Nomjit.