Yes, I did. But I might not do it again. In 2013, my friend and I challenged ourselves to eat ‘Balut’, a famous street food in the Philippines. The experience was so unforgettable that I had to have it filmed and uploaded to Youtube.
In case you don’t know what Balut is, it’s basically a hard-boiled egg with a developing duck embryo in it. The texture of the egg really depends on its incubation period, which is usually between 14 and 21 days. Many Filipinos like their Balut eggs to be 18 days old.
On Bizarre Food, Andrew Zimmern mentioned that Balut was first introduced to the Philippines locals by Chinese traders in the 1800, and since then it became the country’s national dish.
You can find a similar delicacy in other Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. When I was in Vietnam, I accidentally bought 4 fertilised quail eggs. I didn’t know those eggs were another version of the Balut.
After opening them, my jaw dropped to the floor. I was shocked and disappointed because they weren’t what I expected them to be.
I didn’t want them to go to waste so I ate them all. At least they were a lot smaller than the Balut I had in the Philippines.
Do you know how Balut tastes like?
I thought it tasted like…. a chicken egg. The smell wasn’t very pleasant, though. It smelled quite rotten to me. The texture of the duck embryo was quite soft. As I struggled to eat the whole of it, I could hear the sound of broken bones.
When I was trying to open the shell of my Balut, I accidentally spilled out all of its juices. I didn’t get to drink it, but that didn’t bother me at all. It didn’t look savouring to me anyway. On the other hand, my friend Edmund, was munching his Balut happily. Then he told me that the egg juice was the best part of the dish.
While Edmund was almost done with his Balut, I was still struggling to finish mine. My Filipino friends encouraged me to add some salt and vinegar to the egg to give it extra flavours. I did that, yet I still didn’t enjoy it very much. It was just bizarre to me. Despite the struggles, I was happy to have tried it.
While it’s a delicacy for many, not everyone likes the idea of eating Balut. Some people find it inhuman, while some find it unhealthy, especially when taken too much. As for me, I won’t be looking forward to eating it in the future. It wasn’t my cup of tea. Eating it somehow made me feel bad, and I still don’t quite understand why.
Below is a video of me trying to eat my first Balut. Till this day, those reactions and facial expressions I made continue to make me laugh at myself.
Have you tried eating a Balut? If you have, would you do it again?
But if you haven’t, would you give it a try?