Whenever I plan a trip, even if it is for work, I always start by making a food plan: a list of must-try typical dishes, delicacies and exotic foods from that particular place.
So there I was making my list when something caught my attention and, following my philosophy, I had to list it as number one in the ranking of must-try-when-in-the-philippines. Ladies and gents, I present to you: Balut!
According to my friend Wikipedia, Balut is the fertilized duck embryo (or chicken) that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Now you see why I had to try it.
As soon as I got to Manila, I left my bags and ran to the Robinsons Galleria shopping mall that is attached to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Ortigas Center. In between all the outlets in this food court, hid the one place that sold this delicacy and I had to find it. After walking the entire place twice and just before I completely lost all hope, I saw a queue at a stall with the name of Eggstasy that looked like a popcorn cart. I got closer to read the “menu” and there it was, I had found it!
Boiled Balut, deep-fried Balut and even 2 days old chick were on the menu. I ordered one of each, but they had run out of the chick, so I took my order and went back to my hotel room to enjoy my precious finding.
The Boiled version comes with the shell and you are meant to peel off one part and suck up the liquid before eating the egg (I know I cheated by not doing this, but it looked pretty gross), whereas the deep-fried version is first boiled, peeled off and deep-fried so it does not have liquid. The taste is like having chicken and egg in your mouth at the same time, but is the texture what is interesting. I preferred the deep-fried one. It does not have that unappealing broth and it is softer, more eggy, than the boiled one. I would not recommend eating it with the vinegar that they sell together with the balut. It is quite strong and overshadows the taste of the egg.
All in all, it was an interesting finding and I would definitely eat it again.
A few weeks later I saw a documentary on TV about balut in the Philippines and I was filled with joy of knowing that I had tried it.