Balut: A taste of the exotic
I’m talking about the “balut,” a famous delicacy in the Philippines that would send a lot of people from other parts of the world scurrying away in disgust.
Balut, which is sold in streets in the Philippines, is fertilized duck egg cooked and served in its shell.
Andres Zimmern of the Travel Channel featured balut on his show “Bizarre Foods,” so did Anthony Bourdain on “No Reservations.”
From freezer to hot water
After not seeing any balut for over three years, I learned that there’s a store that sells it on Saipan — the grocery beside Elegance Restaurant in Garapan.
It costs $1.50 each. I bought three and took it home one time. As it came from the cooler, I had to heat it for a few minutes before finally laying them on the table and staring at them as though I’d forgotten how to eat balut.
Picking up one, I tapped the pointy tip of the egg’s shell and made an opening large enough to pinch the sac covering the top. I then poured a generous amount of salt and spicy vinegar before tipping it up for the broth to trickle into my mouth. After the broth was drained, I cracked the shell slowly, pouring more salt and vinegar as I spooned the yolk and took dainty bites. (Yes, spooned. I wouldn’t eat it otherwise)
No to eye contact
Some people eat the duck fetus in two or even one bite but a lot of them will not look at it. This is the secret. Never have eye to eye contact with that little slippery guy with feathers inside the shell. It will haunt you for the rest of your life. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Or maybe not.