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Adeline Yuboco

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Adeline is a full-time freelance writer based in Parañaque City, Philippines. She founded Life and Leisure.com to give readers more than your average 'cookie-cutter' information on food and travel. It is an avenue where readers can read reviews and editorial posts about food and travel to help them enjoy traveling and eating even on a budget. She is also a contributing writer at CampingRoadTrip.com and DigitalJournal.com

When she is not writing, she could be found volunteering in her local church where she is a young adults and youth small group leader or at home either watching her favorite shows at Discovery Travel and Living or playing with her eight cats.
 

Twitter: @lifenleisure

 

Balut: the Stuff or Nightmares or Just Plain Misunderstood?

  • Sept. 7, 2011, 6 a.m.
  • = Responses

Balut is a Filipino street food delicacy loved by some and feared by many. Is it really the stuff of nightmares or just one very misunderstood egg?

Balut

Since it became one of the challenges in the reality TV show Fear Factor, Filipinos (myself included) get quite a kick at seeing the faces of their foreign friends express the embodiment of sheer fright the minute that it is served to them. In fact, eating balut has become somewhat a rite of passage for you to really say that you’ve visited the Philippines. In the words of Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmerman: “If you haven’t eaten fertilized duck embryos, then you haven’t lived.

Filipinos eat balut because of its numerous benefits. It has been found to be a good source of protein. It’s also believed to help strengthen your bones. And of course, let’s not forget the fact that Filipinos believe that this is to be an aphrodisiac, making this very popular among the men. Although, I consider the last part to be something that they would say to encourage people to try it out. After all, isn’t that how they would usually describe other kinds of bizarre foods?

Although this egg delicacy is often equated with the Philippines, you may find it interesting that this didn’t originate in the Philippines. It was brought to the Philippines by Chinese traders back in the 1800s. To this day, it’s considered to be a delicacies in other countries in Asia. In one episode of A Cook’s Tour, host Anthony Bourdain dines on hot vit lon for breakfast in Vietnam. As I watched him take a bite, I discovered that it is actually a version of the Filipino balut with two slight differences. First, Filipinos eat balut during the evening, not for breakfast like they do in Vietnam. Second, the Vietnam version is soft-boiled. In the Philippines, it is cooked until it becomes hard boiled.

No doubt that balut is one of those kinds of food which you’d consider to be an acquired taste. And just like many of these bizarre foods, their reputation is enough to cause anyone to back away and tremble in fear. But take them away from their familiar look and present them in a totally different way, and you’ll be amazed to find these very same people would be more than willing to give them a try. That’s quite often the case I’ve observed with a lot of people who’d feast on dishes like Balut ala Pobre (a dish with the yolk of the balut is sauteed with olive oil and garlic and served on a sizzling plate) yet wouldn’t consider eating balut at its purest form: straight off the shell.

Balut may be considered to be a definite bizarre Filipino delicacy, but for me, it’s just one little egg that is just plain misunderstood.

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