Today this blog is two years old. And to celebrate I tried something new to me. Something very, very new.
Balut. The sound of that word will either bring you great pleasure, true horror, or utter confusion.
First, a little education for you. What is balut, you may ask? Well, it is a fertilized duck or chicken egg with a nearly-developed embryo. You boil it, peel the shell, and gobble it down. This Filipino delicacy can also be found in Vietnam where it is called Hột vịt lộn. It is also considered to be an aphrodisiac and a high source of protein.
When I asked a friend of mine if she knew where I could track down some balut, she got very excited and said she’d find some for me. Ironically — or logically depending on your opinion of balut — each egg was stamped with the word “treat.”
They are already cooked, but need to be warmed prior to eating so the eggs were popped into some boiling water.
Once hot, the next step is to crack the bottom of the egg (the wide part), and carefully peel away part of the shell. Inside the egg is a lot of “soup” that you drink prior to peeling the remainder of the shell. The liquid, also known as embryonic fluid, made peeling the eggs a bit of a messy business as it was quite easy to spill some out of the shell. It tasted, surprisingly, like chicken broth. Slurp up that sucker (I downed it like a shot) and peel away the rest of the shell.
The next part I did as quickly as I could, without looking too closely at the balut as I was afraid I would freak out and bail on the whole experiment. After taking a photo I closed my eyes and bit into the balut. I had planned on just biting half of it, but most of it started to come apart in my hands and in the end I just shoved the whole thing into my mouth. You see that bit of feather in the photo below? Well I didn’t even realize it was there until I looked at the downloaded photos on my computer. As you can see from the photo, the whites and yolk of the egg was all mixed up inside.
The texture of the balut was like eating the whites of a regular hard boiled egg. I was afraid that I would be pulling feathers out of my mouth or crunching on a beak, but the whole thing was relatively soft throughout. The taste surprised me as well. It was like eating an earthier egg, with flavours reminiscent of eating bone marrow or offal.
My friends laughed at me because I hadn’t even seen the bird. So we dissected a second egg for me so that I could take photos.
Not a pretty sight. I drew the line at eating the dissected version. Looking at it gave me the willies.
I did eat a second (whole) balut though. Cross one more thing off of my lifetime to do list.
Our balut was found here:
Kababayan Grocery Store & Cafe
15117-121 Street, Edmonton