cheftanner (cheftanner) wrote in oddfood,


I went to the Asian Market yesterday and bought a few of these to try, anyone else ever had these?

(Filipino) or hot vit lon (Vietnamese).
Information on the duck eggs I got, I guess they used them on Fear Factor. Makes me wonder why I volunterrily want to eat these lmao.

By Jan Gundlach

The wayward nature of the itik (native Filipino duck) must be the reason for an unusual Filipino delicacy - balut - a fertilised egg with a partially developed duckling, which is eaten boiled. Balut is a very nutritious snack food, which most Filipinos appreciate. However, non-Filipinos generally take a bit of convincing before taking their first bite.

The itik is a poor mother. She does not sit on her eggs to warm them up till the time they are hatched. Hence, the eggs have to be incubated by man, which in the Philippines has been traditionally done in a home-scale hatchery called a balutan.

Only the strong-shelled and apparently fertile eggs are selected for balut-making. These are detected by "candling" and also by snapping the shell hard enough with the fingers to cause breakage of the thin shells.

The selected eggs are first incubated between bags of toasted palay (whole rice grains with husk) or ipa (rice husk) to stimulate the body temperature of the mother duck (42½C). The set-up is then layered with sako (burlap bags) to serve as insulators. Complete development or hatching takes place within 28 days of incubation. After six days the eggs are tested and those discovered to be infertile are itlog na maalat (salt-cured) or sold as sariwa (fresh). Those which are fertile but have failed to develop at normal speed are detected and separated on the 14th day of incubation. They are boiled and sold as penoy. Their appearance is similar to a hard-cooked duck egg. Eco, those containing dead embryos, are spoiled and have no market value.

The balut are those incubated up to the 18th day and which contain a healthy living embryo. Like penoy, they are boiled and eaten as a snack food. In fact, these two are sold together just as one is given a choice of coffee or tea. Filipinos are used to the calls of young street vendors peddling their wares: "Balut . . . penoy!"

The methods described above are the traditional cottage-level methods of balut-making, which are still prevalent today. At various times, suggestions have been made to mechanise the process using an incubator similar to the ones used in chicken egg hatcheries. Such a system would be more efficient; temperature control is more accurate and it would eliminate the cumbersome procedure of heating the ipa or palay. However, country folk still have to be assured of its commercial feasibility.

Balut and penoy are traditionally considered aphrodisiacs. While it is true that they have high nutrient values, (containing proteins, vitamin E and minerals and provide a source of energy) there is no hard evidence to prove this. Aphrodisiacs or not, balut and penoy are enjoyed by millions of Filipinos.

For the non-Filipino, an adventurous spirit, a desire to explore the unknown and the ability to be open-minded are essential to the enjoyment of balut. A combination of saltiness and tartness, softness and crunchiness, a sensation of sweetness, the degree of resistance to the bite, the viscosity and stickiness are the rewards.

Today, the humble balut has been slicked over, enveloped in puff pastry, oven-baked, perfumed with various spices and undergone so many transformations that it is a minor miracle that the poor thing still manages to remember that it really is nothing more than a duck’s egg. Any self-respecting balut will tell you that it is best served and eaten plain. Here’s how:

1.Take a freshly boiled balut in one hand. 2.Make sure you have the "flat" bottom of the balut facing you and tap it lightly on any hard surface until you see hairline crack form on its surface. 3.Remove bits of shell until you have a cavity the size of a penny. 4.Inside the cavity you will find a paper-thin film of white tissue. Remove this. 5.Drop in a pinch of rock salt, place the opening to your lips, tip your head back and slurp up the broth. Delicious. 6.Widen the cavity by removing more bits of shell until you have enough exposed to be able to bite off a sizeable chunk of the balut. Don’t forget to sprinkle more rock salt. 7.Go on eating until you get to the bato (rock) or the hard white portion. Discard. 8.When you get to the bottom, there will be a little more broth left over. Drop in a minute pinch of salt and drink up.
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