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Balut [Oct. 17th, 2006|05:31 pm]
Food Tube
Name - "balut"

What it really is - boiled duck foetus

Location - Samantha's house, Manila, Philippines






On a trip to Manila in May this year I was invited to try something called "Balut". I'd seen it advertised on home-made signs at the side of the road and in shopping centres. Samantha, who took these pictures, told me what it was - a boiled fertilised duck egg, almost ready to hatch.

There's an explanation and better photos at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut.

I had to try it.
A few eggs were fetched from the nearest stall along with a small bag of rock salt and instructions to "eat them while they're hot"



They looked fairly innocuous on the outside, of course. The first task was to get the egg open, which was done in the usual boiled-egg-with-soldiers manner. Instead of a boiled egg there was a reservoir of dark brown liquid



...which I had to suck out...



It tasted fairly strange - a little like chicken stock, but not really definitively edible. I would have made more notes on this part, but I was thinking too much about what was to come.
The shell was very thick, like a shell. I cracked it open with the spoon and with moderate difficulty. After a good peeling I was left with this -



It looked a bit like a brain - a yellow, eggy, duck brain, with smaller brown bits. It's a shame the picture here isn't clear enough to make out the features clearly, but it had a little head with a little yellow beak poking out.
I thought I'd start with the other, non-beaky, side.



I had expected it to taste a bit like scrambled egg, but it didn't. Even with a bit of salt it was deeply strange. The development of the duck had changed the chemical composition of the yolk somehow. It was around a second after it went into my mouth that I realised that I could feel something strangely textured against my tongue. Feather. For a second I gagged, then I swallowed quickly. It wasn't that bad.



Looking down I realised I'd accidentally eaten a good amount of the duck itself and not even noticed. The body had been so soft that I'd munched through a fair amount of feather and bone without realising.
I let myself get the retching out of the way, took a deep breath and went for the head.



It was a bit more chewy and feathery. I was more relieved than disappointed to find that I couldn't distinguish beak from yolk in the mix.



And then it was all gone, and much the same. Under the fleshy part there was a large hard, rubbery part that I was told not to bother eating, so I didn't. I passed on the second egg - sometimes you can have just too much of a good thing. All in all it wasn't nearly as revolting as I'd been warned, just a little strange-tasting and surprisingly textured - somewhere between dry and sticky. I'd been told that the smell was revolting too, but it didn't offend me.
Next time I try it I'll take off all the yolk so I can just pop the duck foetus into my mouth. Should be fun.

LinkReply

Comments:
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From: brokenjoystick
2006-10-17 02:13 pm (UTC)
i almost gagged reading that so i guess you've got a much much stronger stomach than me.
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From: carriewamix
2008-07-17 12:38 am (UTC)
Kudo’s kid… you’ve got more guts than me. Proud of you. March 29th, at pm Darren says: Oh, I long ago gave up going to the dentist.
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[User Picture]From: hiredg00n
2006-10-18 02:50 pm (UTC)
You should try out for that Fear Factor show in America, you'd totally win.
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From: merlesandes
2008-10-09 03:37 pm (UTC)
Did you think you had an advantage coming into this episode of Fear Factor since you'd already done the show once before.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-18 04:07 pm (UTC)

FEEED-us

what is the deal with you guys's spelling of fetus, anyway ? am i supposed to be impressed that i resembles latin or something ?

looks mighty tasty-- yee-ow!

(ps-- many portuguese asked about you and your chin at this year's garage festival... yes, it's been a year!!!)
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-20 04:05 pm (UTC)

Re: FEEED-us

Foetus is correct.

Fetus is American.

IMO
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[User Picture]From: genderfur
2006-10-20 06:02 pm (UTC)
*shudder*

I saw this on "Survivor" a couple of seasons ago. It looked like the folks eating it had some gagging reactions (but it was good protein, so it went down and stayed there).
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[User Picture]From: genderfur
2006-10-20 06:06 pm (UTC)
PS: I got here from the B3TA newsletter, so you probly shouldn't be surprised to see a bunch of comments and/or friendings soon.

http://b3ta.com/newsletter/issue250/ and scroll down 3 or 4 screens. They claim you're one of them, but they're unreliable b3tards.
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[User Picture]From: iamyourmother
2006-10-20 06:54 pm (UTC)

My eyes! My stomach! My brain!

I feel absolutely violated by this. Thank you :)
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[User Picture]From: otana
2006-10-20 07:21 pm (UTC)
My god that's disgusting. You must have balls the size of soccer balls to do that.
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[User Picture]From: rob_t_firefly
2006-10-21 04:58 pm (UTC)
So are you for or against duckie abortions, now?
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-21 11:15 pm (UTC)

not for tourists

my wife lived in the phillipines for 3 years.....this is a delicacy....they eat anything there. they ate her pet goat when she was back in the uk.....minging
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-25 11:55 am (UTC)

WÜRG!

Na Prost Mahlzeit! Ich geh jetzt kotzen!
Greetings from Germany
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-26 09:17 am (UTC)
Everyone of you should try eating Balut.
After you eat it for the first time(most ppl close their eyes and shut their noses), you'd be coming back for more.
Im not saying this cause Im from the Phils and I eat balut every chance I have... but then again...

BTW... balut's also an aphrodisiac. Maybe that's enough motivation for some. >:)

BTW2, that's not the only thing that non-Filipinos find gross about our food. Try searching for 'Soup No. 5'. These food stuffs sounds/looks/smells(?) gross, but most of us enjoy it. yummy.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-27 04:17 pm (UTC)
Well, some mental cases will find everything aphrodisiac won't they? From tiger's penises to rhino's horns...

Why shouldn't eating a half-developed duck do the trick too, hey?
It makes absolute sense to eat something gross or cruel to get you in the mood...

You know, most mentally sane people find the simple act of looking at a member of the preferred sex they fancy will make their sexual appetite increase.

Porn also helps.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-28 10:58 pm (UTC)

I wonder....

I wonder if a fertilised egg like that one is more or less nutritious than an unfertilised one?
Meat would seem to have more protein than egg, but it must originate from the egg anyway.
I wonder if it has less calories as the feotus would have consumed some in order to stay alive?
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-02 11:26 am (UTC)

bad man

James is a big bad egg---bad cat
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[User Picture]From: rulebreaker_31
2006-11-02 04:53 pm (UTC)
Well, that's. . . gross. Cheers!
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-06 08:10 am (UTC)

Balut

I don't know why you are are all a bunch of quirmish girls!

Firstly, if you don't know what it tastes like, you can't say it's gross.

Secondly, considering the Philippines is a third world country, they HAVE to eat anythign there otherwise they will starve. They can't all afford bland tasteless fake food as they have in the developed world.

Finally, I have eaten balut and lots of other stuff in the philippines and this isn't as bad as some of the other delicacies!

ps: I grew up in the philippines

C:
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[User Picture]From: dikubu
2006-11-07 05:33 am (UTC)
Hello! You may have noticed that I added you as a friend. I found your journal through the cooking community, and just can't resist anyone who is so culinarily adventurous ;) I like balut, actually (although in Vietnam it's called something else). It reminds me of chicken soup, and we have it with Thai basil, salt and pepper.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-12-02 02:29 am (UTC)
I love balut...I do not eat the duck itself, but I sure enjoy the rest! Next time, maybe I can make u a Thai sauce that goes really well with balut so u can't really taste it!
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[User Picture]From: philmdstudent
2007-03-11 12:41 pm (UTC)
Judging from your description, you've had 16-day balut. I heartily recommend trying the 18 day. The more mature fetus has the beak partly formed, and adds a bit of crunchiness to the experience. I tried balut on my fourth day ever in the Philippines, and instantly fell in love!

Lets continue to fight for the female ducks' right to choose...
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