So, okay. I promised the last time I posted “isaw” as one of my comfort foods that I would be posting an entry for Balut eggs. Here it is.
The last time I ate a Balut egg, I took a photo of it and sent it to five of my foreign friends over WeChat. As expected, I got to read fairly different responses, which I figured were made with too much discretion and too much honesty that they probably would not dare look at any other photo I send them of exotic foods ever again. The worst one, and perhaps the best and funniest one at the same time, that I got was from (again, I mention you here, Philippe) Weiss, my Croatian friend.
Apparently, he showed the photo to his mom, who said that someone should slap me for eating little animals. Boy, was that a very first. I laughed aloud upon reading the comment and with all honestly, it did not even cause a sting. I completely understood where the words came from. After all, it is not every day we meet people who would enjoy exotic foods.
Then again, a Filipino or an Asian would not consider Balut eggs an exotic food. It is even considered a comfort food like every other street food there is.
So what is it? Balut is an eleven-to-eighteen-day old fertilized duck egg with a partially developed embryo covered by the yolk.
It actually does sound disgusting, especially when you try to imagine the under-developed body parts of a baby duck swirling around your mouth as you chew. In fact, Chris Kilham wrote on foxnews.com, “Balut is fear itself. Though a snack much beloved in the Philippines, balut to us is a torture of an item, a bizarrely-conceived if not abjectly demonic dish.”
But balut is really not as bad as it sounds. It tastes a little like a regular hard-boiled egg but with a creamier zest to it. The tricky part, and perhaps the most feared part of it, is the crunch of the embryo, which does not even taste that fresh at all since balut eggs are actually boiled for 20 to 30 minutes and are advised to be eaten while warm.
Amazingly, you can get calcium off of it, apart from calories, fats, iron and protein. It is also an aphrodisiac.
Here is how you eat it:
1. Crack the egg on one side. We usually check which part is wider – top or bottom.
2. Sip off the its juice.
3. Season the yolk and the embryo with vinegar or with just put plain salt. Most albumin are too hard to be eaten so you can just throw that away.
4. Munch, munch!
Yeah. Not as easy as it seems, especially the munch! munch! part. But please take my word for it. If you happen to visit the Philippines, please do try and eat one. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!