Wednesday, November 25, 2009

balut

I suppose I should say that the pictures after the jump aren't that appetizing. So if you are, in any way, easily put off, then maybe wait for another post or go look at pictures of pretty unicorns. If you are however curious, let me show the the way.

Balut isn't going top be everyone's cup of tea; I realize this. In fact it isn't a cup of tea at all. Very simply, it's an egg; as you can see from the pictures. What makes this egg different from your regular store bought egg is the nearly developed embryo inside. The duck, or chicken egg, is allowed to age for a few weeks, the ideal age I've read is around 17 days, after which the egg is boiled.

Pulling the shell leaves you with quite the sight.

I've been on the lookout for balut for some time now. Now, I'm not exactly calling around everyday, but I do ask when I'm out and about. Walking by a Filipino grocery store today, I decided to ask. To my surprise, there was balut to be had. Asking if I would like my balut cooked, or uncooked, I opted for one that was already cooked. With this being my first experience, I wasn't going to get involved with boiling it correctly..because if I had to wait too long, I might drop the idea all together. The shop owner was more than happy to sell me the egg, but wanted to know if I recently watched the balut episode of Fear Factor. Saying no, I did my best to explain that the foodie in me was dying to try it. I don't know if she understood my desire, but she did ask me to come back and tell her how it was.

The shop owner mentioned I may want to sit the egg in warm water for a few minutes so it can warm up, but once again, not wanting to give up, I dug right in. The shell seemed a bit harder to crack than a normal egg, but it could have been my passive aggressive banging. See I didn't really know what I would see, and didn't want to somehow wreck the interior. Eventually I had the shell completely off, and took a pause. By no means is balut visually appealing. Or for that matter gross; it's just not what you expect. Slicing the egg open is really where the 'oh' factor comes in. I probably should have peeled apart the pieces, instead of slicing through the embryo..but hey; live and learn right! So how was it. Interesting. With a mix of soft and crunchy bits, and everything in between, it makes for an interesting snack. Combined with a familiar, but unfamiliar egg test, I can see why many people would pass on the dish.

I actually didn't mind the egg. The texture of certain sections, was easily the worst part. The crunch of a beak, or the mental imagine of hair does strange things to the belly. I imagine a fresh, warm egg could have a stronger flavour, something the cooler temperature in which the egg was stored may have robbed, and that every egg would be slightly different (just like people and snowflakes). So it's almost hard to judge the entire balut experience based on this first attempt. And, although I'm almost curious to go back and compare...I may not be running back to the store in a hurry.

10 comments:

Jane said...

Being Filipino, balut brings back a lot of childhood memories. My dad had it occasionally and only gave me the yolk to eat, probably to spare me from seeing an underdeveloped embryo at such a young age!

I know that the balut we ate was always stored at a cool temperature but usually it's enjoyed warmed up.

Thanks for sharing your balut experience Chris!

misterrios said...

While I am never squeamish at the sight of pig's heads stacked three heads high at Mexican markets, this just- well- it looks gross. I think mostly because it is not recognizable as a part of an animal. Still, I commend your culinary bravery!

Chris said...

NP Jane! Thanks for the thoughts.

I agree Misterrios. It can definitely be a bit easier to look at certain sections/pieces of animals than others.

bruleeblog said...

Where did you find it? I've been looking for some for the longest time!

Kevin Kossowan said...

Dude. I am SO not up for joining you.

Grace said...

Okay, I've always prided myself on having a castiron stomach, I doubt I could bring myself to try this... my imagination would probably go nuts first...

Chris said...

For the life of me Brulee I can't think of the name right now. I'll get back to you.

Come one Kevin..Mr. Butcher man!!!

I swear it's a strange feeling Grace. Sure you can mentally talk yourself up, but the textures then hit you and BAM, the mental game starts again.

Sherman said...

Oh my... That's one adventure I'd like to pass on. The visual is just... disturbing? Dunno, maybe I can eat with a blindfold. You are a brave man.

Cheryl Arkison said...

You are braver than I.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I would like to know where you heard of these in the first place and what it actually ended up tasting like... what is it usually eaten with. I have never heard of this, and I have incubated and hatched eggs when i taught elementary school. We candled them and watched them grow inside of the egg, and it was so exciting. I had no idea this was an ethnic treat for someone... and do find it hard to stomach after literally being "mother hen" for a number of years way back when... but I am definitely curious to know more, and am wide awake after reading this tonight!

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