“You’ve never eaten balut?” – people were asking in unison as if I’ve committed a crime and were waiting for me to explain myself. But I didn’t know how to respond in defense. Rather than coming up with a lame excuse, I surrendered in admission.
I confess, I’m a Filipino but I’ve never eaten balut.
I get these dazed looks from people whenever I disclose this information. A silent pause is what comes next which serves as a signal for me to clarify the statement on why I’ve never tried this famous Philippine delicacy. I tell you this is a great ice-breaker during conversations.
crack it open
BALUT is a popular (if not the most) Filipino street food which is a fertilized duck egg or chicken egg with an almost-developed embryo that is boiled and eaten in a shell. It has been considered as a trademark of Filipino culture because they say you can't call yourself Filipino unless you've eaten one.
Now that it’s so popular, how come I haven’t eaten one? Probably because no one has really forced me so. I also haven’t forced myself too. When I finally had the chance to try it because this was the topic of our Facebook Group's Blog Carnival, I was able to satisfy my curiosity.
A friend accompanied me to Fuente Osmena circle in Cebu around 2am to search for a balut vendor that was free from customers as we wanted to document the event since it was going to be my first time to eat balut. We found one but I forgot to ask his name.
By the way, you won’t have a hard time looking for this as it’s mostly sold on the streets, most especially at night. It's not an uncommon sight.
I was encouraged by friends that I should eat it at dark when you can’t really see the whole thing. But it was too late since I already chanced upon a website that showed every part of this street food - beak, head, eyes, wings and veins in between. Check it out here: Cebu-Food.com | Oh! Balut You Taste So Good To Me
manong vendor who was game to pose for the camera
Just the thought of having to eat something that looks like a fetus is already enough for me to consider this an extreme partaking. But like any other fear, I made sure to challenge myself in order test my limits. Besides I should have done this time a long time ago. At the least, it’s a more memorable experience because I have a purpose of eating this dish. That would be to have something to contribute in this Blog Carnival.
inside the basket
I have this notion that this is one of those initiation rites wherein a person must force you to do something and you'll be rewarded after. Blame it on how many times foreign TV shows have used the delicacy in order to inflict gross nuances to the contestant doing the challenge. But to Filipinos, they would even ask for salt or vinegar as a condiment.
The vendor helped me out and took his time to share tips. "Don't overthink, just open and eat!" -- so easy to say, the chick's eyes weren't staring at him! But before I got squeamish and all, I obeyed.
Because this was so memorable, I even had it captured on video. Pardon my ignoramus-like tendencies to shine through.
So I finally ate balut. I realized it wasn't that as bad as I thought; though it took me some time to swallow it all. Probably because I ate it hurriedly. Still, it's actually tasty and the condiments made a lot of difference to augment the taste. One should not keep too many thoughts as it's only mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter! haha.
I better find another ice-breaker during conversations because now I can testify that I’m guilty of eating this quirky food. In any case, I can always come up with an alibi...
The Pinoy Travel Bloggers made me do it.
Thanks to Doi for accompanying me to this partaking.
This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Blogger's Blog Carnival themed Pinoy Quirky Foods. which is hosted by James of Journeying James. Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see other topics that the Pinoy Travel Bloggers have written about.
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines and the rest of Asia. He just started his backpacking trip across Southeast Asia in order to live as a digital nomad. Read more about the beginning of his delusions of grandeur here.
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