"Balut" or Not to "Balut"

Date: March 28, 2010
Area: Burgos
Companion: Elder Abitria from the Philippines. Living also with him is Elder Saet & Elder Ward


 I wonder if/when Johnny will get the pleasure of this fine food!!!!!:-)

Balut (egg)

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Partially shelled balut egg showing yolk and chick

Underaged balut with visible chick

Fifteen-day-old balut egg floating in a mixture of hot sauce and patis

Balut, being eaten

A balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell.

Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines. They are common, everyday food in some other countries in Southeast Asia, such as in Laos (where it is called Khai Luk), Cambodia (Pong tea khon in Cambodian), and Vietnam (Trứng vịt lộn or Hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese). They are often served with beer.

The Filipino and Malay word balut (balot) means "wrapped" – depending on pronunciation.




[edit] Preparation

Balut are most often eaten with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, plus ground pepper and Vietnamese Coriander leaves (Southern Vietnamese style), though some balut-eaters prefer chili and vinegar to complement their egg. The eggs are savored for their balance of textures and flavors; the broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled and the yolk and young chick inside can be eaten. All of the contents of the egg are consumed, although the whites may remain uneaten, due to its cartilage-like toughness depending on the age of the fertilized egg. In the Philippines, balut have recently entered haute cuisine by being served as appetizers in restaurants: cooked adobo style, fried in omelettes or even used as filling in baked pastries.

Balut-making is native to the Philippines. A similar preparation is known in China as maodan (Chinese: 毛蛋pinyin: máodàn; literally "feathered egg"), and Chinese traders and migrants are said to have brought the idea of eating fertilized duck eggs back from the Philippines. However, the knowledge and craft of balut-making has been localized by the balut-makers (magbabalut). Today, balut production has not been mechanized in favor of the traditional production by hand. Although balut are produced throughout the Philippines, balut-makers in Pateros are renowned for their careful selection and incubation of the eggs.

Fertilized duck eggs are kept warm in the sun and stored in baskets to retain warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held to a light to reveal the embryo inside. Approximately eight days later the balut are ready to be cooked, sold, and eaten. Vendors sell cooked balut out of buckets of sand (used to retain warmth) accompanied by small packets of salt. Uncooked balut are rarely sold in Southeast Asia. In the United States, Asian markets occasionally carry uncooked balut eggs. The cooking process is identical to that of hard-boiled chicken eggs, and baluts are enjoyed while still warm.

Duck eggs that are not properly developed after nine to twelve days are sold as penoy, which look, smell and taste similar to a regular hard-boiled egg. In Filipino cuisine, these are occasionally beaten and fried, similar to scrambled eggs, and served with a vinegar dip.

The age of the egg before it can be cooked is a matter of local preference. In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old, at which point it is said to be balut sa puti ("wrapped in white"). The chick inside is not old enough to show its beak, feathers or claws and the bones are undeveloped. The Vietnamese prefer their balut matured from 19 days up to 21 days, when the chick is old enough to be recognizable as a baby duck and has bones that will be firm but tender when cooked. In Cambodia, it is eaten while it is still warm in its shell. It is served with nothing more than a little garnish, which is usually a mixture of lime juice and ground pepper.

[edit] In Western popular media

Balut has been the "shocking" topic of some television shows because of its taboo nature in some Western cultures. In the 2004 episode of Taboo (TV series) "Extreme Cuisine", balut is the opening segment. In two episodes of Survivor: Palau and two episodes of Survivor: China, separate challenges featured attempts to eat this delicacy. Similarly, Fear Factor frequently used balut as a means of disgusting contestants. Contestants of The Amazing Race Asia 2 had to eat 8 baluts as a team before receiving their next clue. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir featured balut eaten by several contestants after its introduction by a Filipino-American fighter Phillipe Nover. The Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern also featured balut, where the host pronounced 18-day-old balut one of the strangest foods he'd ever eaten in his life, but far better tasting than he had expected. Zane Lamprey, on his show Three Sheets attempts to eat balut but in the end cannot bring himself to do so. The members of the rock band Switchfoot ate balut on stage at their concert in the Philippines. Episode 28 of the Switchfoot Podcast shows video footage of this occurrence.

[edit] See also

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[edit] References


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