Short Stories From The Road #7: Torpedo Soup on the Menu

This is story #7 in my Short Stories from the Road series. Introduction found here

Ants in Laos, frogs in Cambodia, crickets in Thailand, dogs in Vietnam… just kidding, I never ate dog. While the opportunity did present itself, I could not oblige as I love my furry friends a little too much. I never wanted to look at my dog and see four chicken legs in the place of love, joy, slobber and a small IQ.

Malaysia Playground

Weird cuisine is the the name of the game when traveling through foreign lands and Malaysia was no exception. Finding ourselves on Panang, an old colonial island off the northern Malaysian coast, Austin and I were, per usual, testing out everything the street carts had to offer. Honestly, I don’t know how Austin heard about this particular dish, but he suddenly had it in his mind that we were going to consume buffalo penis. Yes, you heard that correctly, penis. My first inclination was to begin making jokes about said consumption, but I’ll let your imagination run wild off of these pure white pages. Initially, I was pretty skeptical that this was even real, but he stood steadfast in his belief and we walked out the door on a mission to find this lusted after vendor.

When I asked where it was located, Austin repeated some jumbled directions presenting us with an issue aside from suppressing our gag reflexes. How do you ask directions to the penis soup? If it was a well known soup, then it wouldn’t be a big deal, but if it wasn’t… how would we describe what we desired to a non native English speaker. Hand motions? That’s out. That could put us in jail for soliciting something other than soup. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t convinced we’d ever find the promised land.

Arriving at what we thought was the correct cluster of street carts, we began scanning menus, but nothing was catching our fancy so the fateful moment was inevitable. Austin asked if they served buffalo penis. Except he said it slowly, sounding extremely unsure of himself and his chosen words. The Malaysian local flashed his crooked teeth while his eyes quickly lit up, “You mean Torpedo Soup!” While saying this, his made a swift punching motion with his right arm. Not knowing how to respond to this joyous outburst, both Austin and I looked on at each other in confirmation. This was definitely the place. “We’ll take two please.”

Would I recommend Torpedo Soup? For taste alone, hell no. But if you enjoy pushing odd gelatinous shapes around in your soup and taking wild guesses as to what part goes where, then I’d say be my guest.

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