Challenging eats – lamb testicles

The ultimate nose to tail?

Nose to tail is a worthy food movement – ethical, economical, ecological sound. It’s even been nominated as the next “food trend”. For many developing countries, nose to tail isn’t the latest trend, it’s just what is done. Some of my fondest childhood food memories from Vietnam are of offal, chicken feet, congealed blood, pig trotters and other tasty and texture-rich delights.

However, to this day, I’ve not had testicles… the little, err actually not so little, pink, tight and glossy lamb testicles

Apparently lamb testicles can be found in many cuisines from American crumbed lamb fries, Turkish (at Sydney’s Efendy) and in this case, Northern Chinese street food – charcoal bbq lamb testicles. The bulging balls are sliced cross-wise to open up like mango. They’re not marinated and frequent basting with sesame oil keeps them from burning, salt is sprinkled on judiciously to add flavour. Chilli and cumin powder are added just prior to serving. Check out the noodlies video above to see the preparation and cooking process.

lamb testicles red charcoal

The finished Chinese bbq lamb testicles present beautifully – elegant and colourful.

Chinese lamb testicles

But what do lamb testicles taste like?

I expected gushy, mushy brain like texture accompanied by a strong mix of lamb and offal aroma (or stench depending on your preference). But these testicles’ texture are closer to scallops. It’s a clean taste, no strong odour, just lightly spiced cumin, chilli and salt. It’s not a life changing experience – closer to pleasant than delicious. My charming and adventurous companion Elizabeth and I blurb out simultaneously “it’s be good with a beer”. I’d have it again, but not in a hurry. In their defence, Raymond Hou, founder of Red Charcoal says it’s “good for the man”.

Lamb testicles are only available on Saturdays and they’re not on the menu – you’ll need to ask for them. Be warned, they’re popular and sell out most weeks.

lamb testicles noodlies

I’m much more of a fan of the charcoal crocodile (below foreground), yes, looks like chicken but is much firmer and leaner, for me the chilli and salt combine perfectly with this white meat. Lamb skewers (below centre) is the classic execution of street food skewers, rougher, tougher and manlier in look and taste – now this really would go down well with a cold Asian beer. Beef tendon skewers look like congealed fat on a stick – I’m used to it in Asian cooking, it’s blander, fattier but can be moreish after lots of beers, of course, it’s an acquired taste.

Red charcoal bbq’s your meat on order and most skewers take only a few minutes. Allow up to 10 minutes for the lamb testicles.

red charcoal skewers

Our host sends out other tasty treats. This northern Chinese clear vermicelli soup is packed with ingredients, several types of mushrooms including crunchy black fungus and stringy enoki. The soup is tasty but packs a decent punch if you stir in the dollop of chilli paste that floats on top.

northern chinese soup

The Chinese pancake is deceptively tasty, it’s dense with egg and Chinese devon filling but the sharp chilli sauce is what you’ll remember most. I’ll be back for both the soup and these delicious pancakes.

chinese pancake

Remember, if you want to challenge yourself with lamb testicles ala mango, come on a Saturday. Let me know what you think!

red charcoal eating world

What other challenging food have you had in Sydney or overseas? Leave a comment, I’d love to know!

Red Charcoal
Shop 201, Eating World
25-29 Dixon St, Haymarket

This unique experience was courtesy of Red Charcoal.