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Waiter, there's Nicaraguan iguana in my soup!

MANAGUA--Catholics tired of fish on Friday can enjoy a Lent-friendly smorgasbord in Nicaragua, where soups made with iguana or armadillo are served with a healthy portion of bull testicles.

The delicacies violate local laws against eating such species during their breeding period, but are seen as a meat-free dish in the lead-up to Easter. They are also considered an aphrodisiac, and thus popular with older men.

“It is really tasty. It is a traditional dish,” gushed Manuel Zamora as he bought two iguanas at a market. The popular Iguana soup is made with the critter's meat and eggs, ground and toasted corn meal, and vegetables.

Pedro Espinoza, a Nicaraguan who lives in Costa Rica but is home visiting, says, “I like the taste of iguana. The little eggs are delicious.”

Especially popular is a performance-enhancing soup called Levanta Muerto, which translates roughly as “Raises the Dead.” It is said to boost energy and virility, and nourish the brain.

The soup consists of meat from the black, spiny-tailed iguana, brains, bone marrow, bull testicles and, in some cases, shellfish.

“I love bull testicles,” said Jose Cordoba, a fan of the dish, which is popular among older men and office workers.

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The garbage scavenger and his friend the pope
A food seller prepares traditional dishes in the Oriental Market in Managua, Nicaragua on March 15. Garrobo soup — beef soup with iguanas and turtles are some of the exotic dishes ...

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