fetal duck egg

Monday, November 30, 2009


He did it. He ate balut and didn't throw up or run screaming from the room or divorce me. And now my parents love him even more. I'm impressed. Watching your husband sit down at a table across from your dad and crack open a fetal duck egg without flinching is, well, strangely hot.

And it was also fascinating to listen to my dad explain how to eat balut, which I've never been brave enough to try myself. As he was walking Todd through the process, my dad told stories to put the egg in context.

"Imagine you spent the day fishing," my dad said. "Imagine that it's rainy and cold and that you've had a long day. And then you come home to your house and you have a nice, warm balut waiting for you. And you crack open that egg and you drink the juice, and suddenly you feel energized again. You can go back and fish again tomorrow."

Almost makes you forget about the embryonic duck, doesn't it?

Anyway, here's a little step-by-step guide to eating balut:

1. Boil the balut gently for about an hour. (I think this can vary. Some people recommend 15-30 minutes, but the eggs my family had were going for awhile, and there was still a lot of liquid in them from what I saw.)

2. Stand the egg upright in an egg cup, flatter side up -- if you can tell which side is flatter. Otherwise, just guess. (I suspect that my dad likes to use an egg cup because you can eat the fetal duck piece by piece, without actually seeing the body as a whole, which can be pretty scary-looking.)

3. Crack the top of the egg with a fork and peel the greyish membrane back.

4. Salt the egg. (Again, this probably varies. My dad likes salt, but I'm not sure how authentic this is.)

5. Drink the juice/yolk.

6. Use a small spoon to scoop out the meat. Salt. Eat.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the egg is empty, except for a hard, white substance left at the bottom. (My dad doesn't recommend eating this part because the texture is too tough.)

And there you have it: How to eat balut. Or, how to impress your Filipino in-laws.

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