Food and sex have been analogized ad nauseum and I find no small amount of delight in the fact that among the qualities they share is an interesting relationship to craving: it seems I always want more of either immediately after I’ve had some. But there’s no ‘fucking’ way I’ll be craving ‘balut’ again any time soon.
Now, I’m a big fan of Tony Bourdain and his various travel/food shows and take no small amount of inspiration from his notoriously adventurous palate and his equally foul mouth. And while admittedly eating fetal duck egg isn’t quite downing a shot-glass full of vietnamese moonshine along with a still-beating cobra heart, I’d have to say it’s probably one of the strangest things I’ve ever consumed. I probably would still be a balut virgin to this day were it not for the ‘encouragement’ of a friend I climb with who dared me to eat one. The stakes were rather insignificant and thus, not worthy of mention in these pixels but sufficed to say it’ll be something that will be remedied in future ‘Food Dare'(s).
One look at the inside of a ‘balut’ egg and the mind races with b-movie horror and calls of Cthulhu churning up from the nightmarish deep of gastric juices in the pit of your stomach. I assure you, despite how unappealing it seems, the balut is actually rather tasty (well mine would’ve been anyway if the parties involved hadn’t overheated the already once-cooked egg vulcanizing the egg-white from balut to balloon, — apologies to Mrs. Villanueva who will definitely oversee any future fetal duck egg feasting). The best description is by way of analogy: as free range eggs are to regular run of the chicken mill, so balut eggs are to free range– they’re the most ‘eggy’ egg i’ve ever noshed. No more, no less. Admittedly, picking bits of half-formed feather and bone from between your teeth may have its detractors, i’ve eaten far worse in my life (and no doubt will again). Almost as shocking as my initial reaction to the contents of the shell was the utterly casual non-chalance with which Frank V. ate his balut; like he was snacking on sections of orange or munching on doritos totally putting me to shame in the process for making such drama from my snack.
Ultimately though, I suppose if you crave the experience but are a little timid, think of eating balut like having sex with the ugly girl/guy you pulled when you were drunk at the bar on a saturday night: an occasional guilty pleasure and a deed best done in the dark.
If there’s anything (within reason) that you’d like to see Frank V. or Frank K. eat for a future segment of ‘Food Dare’ please post it in the comments.