Balut – the most exotic and disgusting dish
You can’t surprise experienced travelers in Asia with such exotic products as insects, snakes, crocodiles, rats, dogs, etc. But there is one special exotic delicacy that only rare travelers dare to try – Balut eggs.
Balut (Balut, also sometimes pronounced Balot or Balut, or “eggs with paws”) is chicken or duck eggs that are aged 14-21 days before the nestling’s maturity develops in it. Most often, eggs with the embryo are boiled hard-boiled before consumption, but in rare cases they can be fried or eaten raw or soft-boiled. Salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice are used as a “seasoning” seasoning. It is believed that this is predominantly male delicacy, as it gives masculine strength.
China is considered to be the birthplace of the balut, but now this delicacy is most prevalent in the Philippines, also found in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and some other countries of Southeast Asia. In Muslim countries (Malaysia and Indonesia), the use of balut is not encouraged, although it can be found on sale in Chinese and other national communities.
Eggs can be found on sale at street vendors and even in supermarkets, but less and less due to the reputation of food for the poor. In the Philippines, this dish, although it is considered a delicacy, is enjoyed with pleasure at family holidays and is almost an obligatory gift for Christmas.
Where to buy and how to try
Usually the freshest balut is sold by street vendors in the evenings in a ready-to-eat form complete with seasonings. Sellers exhibit in the same places that any local resident knows about. The maturation period is indicated on the plates, and the longer it is, the, accordingly, the more formed the chick inside. But it is not always possible to trust the specified term, often it turns out to be more. And yet, soft-boiled balut may be hazardous to health, because it retains multiplied microorganisms that die only after a long heat treatment. The cost of one balut egg in the Philippines is from 15 to 25 pesos (18.27-30.46 rubles, see more about the Philippine currency), a bag of sauce (vinegar or soy sauce) and salt is included for free.
Objectively, the taste of balut cannot be called pleasant, and this is still mildly said. In addition to the chick surrounded by the consistency of the yolk, amniotic fluid also appears inside, which is also drunk. Balut egg white is very hard and is also eaten. Locals eat balut almost for one bite entirely, but if you decide to try it, it is better to buy the youngest eggs for a period of 14 days for the first time, because the skeleton, beak and plumage have not formed in them. In a more mature balut, an unpleasant smell of protein decomposition is added to the unpleasant taste. It is very difficult to eat it in its pure form the first time, everything can end with vomiting. But this is rather not due to taste, but psychological rejection, plus an extremely unpleasant consistency. Therefore, be sure to bite it with the attached spices and soak in the sauce, alcohol can help, which should be consumed before, and not with the egg.
Misconceptions about Balut
There are several legends and misconceptions connected with Balut, apparently coming from the pages of numerous tourist blogs, the authors of which, without going into details and without even trying, theoretically reason and describe it. For example, in one of the blogs we came across a description that the taste of balut is no different from ordinary hard-boiled eggs. This is complete nonsense, so if you decide to try it, be prepared for unusual and unpleasant tastes, smells, and consistency.
You can still find the opinion that there is a lot of protein in it and this is an unrealistically nutritious and healthy product. This one is also complete nonsense. In fact, there is no more protein and nutrients than in the most ordinary raw or boiled egg. Just raw egg proteins are converted to proteins with a different modification of amino acids, and by-products are also released.
Well, another assertion so far unproven – that balut is a strong aphrodisiac, and gives masculine power in the literal and figurative sense. Perhaps the folk experience of using this product really shows its effectiveness in this, but we could not find any research evidence.