Sunday, July 12, 2009

The infamous Filipino "Balut"

My Human just got back a few days ago from visiting her mom in the Philippines. While she was there she took photos of my fellow stray dogs and cats and wrote about it. You should check out her blog.

What she didn't mention was how she asked her cousin Edith to eat a "balut". A balut is a Filipino street snack and a delicacy. It's essentially a duck egg with a fetus inside - between seventeen to twenty days in gestation. When she was a kid she was challenged by her cousin Edith to try one ... she was told "you're not a real Filipina unless you eat a balut!" Well, my Human thought she could take on that challenge. As instructed, she poked a hole in the shell and sucked the juice out. She claims that was tolerable ... or at least, from what she can remember. Then she was told to peel the shell off. Her stomach started to turn. She tells me though that as a kid she was very competitive and was not about to lose a bet or not take on a challenge! After peeling the shell off what she saw was an undeveloped duck embryo, lots of blood vessels, veins (the photo on the right is from the Deep End Dining blog,) what looked like eyes attempting to develop, maybe a beak .... she closed her eyes, and took a bite. Some are lucky enough to bite into soft meat. My Human wasn't so lucky. Her first was a crunch into the beak and her mouth felt the sensation of duck feather --- she says that at that point she knew she couldn't take the challenge any further. She gulped down what was already in her mouth, quickly grabbed a glass of water, another glass, another glass, and yet another glass --- her memories of that experience remain with her decades later and never again has she ever eaten a balut. In fact, she's a vegetarian now and has been one for over 20 years. I wonder if that formative childhood experience had anything to do with it?? :)

My Human grew up in Thailand. You would think she's be used to all this "interesting" delicacies. Her family had a maid growing up ... she tells me how she would often find her maid snacking on fried bugs (water bugs and sometimes worms) with jasmine rice. She would hear the crunch of the bug as her maid Tong would be relishing the flavor of the bugs blended with rice. She said that Tong always had a smile on her face when she was munching on bugs and rice. It appeared to be one of her favorite meals. In Thai she would ask my Human, "you want some?" I'll give you one guess on what her answer was! [If you'd like to learn more about eating bugs in Thailand check out this website].

Well ... my Human has had the opportunity to enjoy baluts and bugs ... I keep telling her how lucky she is to have been given that opportunity. She doesn't quite see it that way. Me?? I'm not picky. I'll eat both baluts and bugs!

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