Cock-a-doodle-doo

Rooster Testicles

Mon Land Hot Pot City, San Gabriel, CA

Fresh rooster testicles

Fresh rooster testicles

Although I've never seen a rooster strutting around the barnyard "balls-out", I was surprised to learn that they actually have testicles. As a food adventurer, it occurred to me that after having had just about every part of the chicken, I was missing out on this delicacy. Desperate to find them locally, I turned to friend, writer and fellow blogger Eddie Lin who had the balls to suggest Mon Land Hot Pot City in San Gabriel, California (and no, this is not the last of the puns). I enlisted Josh (Trippy Food's webmaster and usual partner in crime), as well as a few friends to join me in San Gabriel for a sack lunch (I warned you).
Mon Land Hot Pot City - we sat outside

Mon Land Hot Pot City - we sat outside

Since it was a warm, sunny day we opted for the patio and were seated at a table with a stone top, a circular opening neatly cut into it (reminding me of a Korean BBQ). Instead of the familiar grill, our waitress placed a heating unit under the table and into the hole a huge metal bowl partitioned in the middle in the "ying/yang" style of Yunnan Province. One side was filled with a milky, beige broth and the other with a menacingly red one. These were heated to a rolling boil, and the steam coming off the liquid was pure, intoxicating, aromatic bliss. The red broth was spicy, with what appeared to be Tien Tsin chilies drowning in the oily abyss; both sides were flavored liberally with garlic, cloves, ginseng, ginger, goji berries and other unidentified spices. We had ordered our dishes from a pick list, and I was transfixed by the vapor when our food started to arrive.
Mild on the right, spicy on the left

Mild on the right, spicy on the left

We had ordered fish balls and shrimp balls (the shape, not the sexual organs), which were dumped readily into the pot. Plates of beef and chicken (frozen so that it could be shaved to almost translucent slices) were brought out and we dunked them in the broth with our chopsticks, cooking them almost immediately. Chunks of pork kidney and rings of pig intestines were brought out next, which cooked up beautifully - the kidney was mild, with hardly a hint of pungent taste usually associated with it. The scallion pancake was like a thin, crispy pizza, and the lamb dumpling reminded me of a juicy lamb burger encased in a dough overcoat. There were three sauces for dipping (a pinkish sauce made from fermented tofu, a spicy brown oily sauce, and a bland, light colored sauce - these could be mixed to add a combination sweetness, spiciness and saltiness). As captivating as all this food was, all activity came to a halt when the guest of honor arrived at the table - the chicken fertilizer. These were listed on the menu as "chicken nuts" (most likely to avoid confusion with the shrimp and fish balls), although they looked more like tiny, pale kidneys. At the waiter's suggestion, these got dumped into the broth, although we had to drag the river for them since they declined to rise to the occasion as our waiter informed us they would. The scalding broth turned the flesh white and swelled them so that they looked like tiny hard-boiled eggs (possibly the source of their nickname, "rooster eggs"). If your weren't aware of what they were, the image wouldn't be even slightly disturbing.
The first attempt at rooster testicles

The first attempt at rooster testicles

So what of the taste? Well, I daintily maneuvered one of the little guys into my mouth with the chopsticks, took a bite and experienced the Mount St. Helens of testicles. Scalding hot liquid filled my mouth, but since it wasn't blistering I took the time to examine the taste. It was creamy and smooth, with a taste like egg mixed with a dash of chicken liver - it didn't taste like chicken, but like it came from a chicken. I learned a valuable lesson after the first one, and allowed each subsequent one to cool slightly on the plate. Since only one or two of the six lunch guests cared to try one (and only one), the task of finishing off the last of them was left to yours truly. The broth was so amazing that I had them pack it up for me to take home and use for cooking, knowing that I would be better off straining it first to get rid of the twigs and seeds. Chicken testicles aren't everyone's cup of tea, but as part of a greater feast are a nice touch. In some places they're deep fried, but I recommend them in hot pot for a full appreciation of their flavor. Call me nuts, but I could handle grabbing testicles for lunch at least once a week. OK, now I'm done. Mon Land Hot Pot City 251 W. Bencamp Street San Gabriel, CA 91776 GPS coordinants: 34°4'43.82"N 118°6'10.34"W

GALLERY: See more images from Val's trip to Mon Land Hot Pot City

Video of Val and friends enjoying rooster testicles in hot pot
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4 Responses to Cock-a-doodle-doo

  1. Jules says:

    gross.

  2. val says:

    Not really, Jules, you have to get past the visual, close your eyes and really taste the food. There’s some foods I’ve tried that no matter how exotic or delicious looking they were still tasted like an old shoe. The thing is to try it, then decide if you don’t like it – otherwise you may be depriving yourself of some amazing culinary opportunities.

  3. Joshua says:

    It had the center of a Vienna sausage with the snappiness of a Pink’s hot dog. It didn’t have much flavor to it – not like eating a piece of chicken or anything.

  4. val says:

    I would agree with Josh’s assessment, but picture the Vienna sausage liquified in the Pink’s hot dog casing, and you get the idea. Incidently, Pink’s gets their hot dogs from Hoffy, a southern California brand – you can find them in grocery stores throughout the L.A. area.

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