"Don't judge a book by its cover"

I'm sure everyone has heard this one time or another growing up. This metaphorical phrase is commonly applied to people; teaching us that we shouldn't judge someone on the way they look. Does it apply to food as well? When it comes to balut, you most certainly have to have an open mind when attempting to eat one. It ranks up there as one of the ugliest (if not THEE ugliest) foods that exist today. There really is no other way to put it, its just looks unappealing. However, I decided to give it a chance. Who knows? maybe it has a great personality taste or its funny nutritional?

Balut is a fertilized incubated egg that contains a developing bird embryo. It originated in the Philippines and is sold throughout Southeast Asia as common street food. It's kinda the equivalent of a hot dog sold on the street here in America. "Chicken Embryos! get ya Chicken Embryos right here!" I really gotta email the Reds about this business opportunity.

I set out on Monday night to Quan Hapa located in OTR. This is the only restaurant in the city that I know of that serves balut. After being seated, I was given terrible news: they were fresh out. Quan Hapa imports their balut from Chicago once a week and when they are out, you have to wait until they restock every Thursday (cause I know your itching to get one). All jokes aside, the server did say that its actually a pretty popular item that goes pretty quick. Hmmm maybe balut isn't that weird after all?

Weird Food: Balut

Nope! its pretty weird. For those of you who are Game of Thrones fans, cracking open a balut is kinda like when the dragons hatched but instead of getting a magical beast you get pile of bird mush. Close enough. After I finished at Quan Hapa, I hopped over to CAM International food market to cook one up myself at home.

The balut I purchased was duck. I have had chicken before but not duck so I was happy this was going to be a first. Balut is sold with the shell still intact. This makes it look very similar to regular boiled eggs:

Weird Food: Balut
Don't judge an egg by its shell

After boiling it for ten minutes and letting it cool - all you have to do is
watch it hatch on its own crack it open just like a boiled egg. My cousin had told me one time that the proper way to eat it is to first crack it at the top and suck out the juice/blood. Continuing my pop culture analogies, eating balut is similar to the Twilight movies but instead of an attractive vampire seductively sucking the blood out of a young female - picture an Asian guy alone in his apartment awkwardly sucking on a duck embryo. Close enough.
Weird Food: Balut
On Snapchat there is a new balut filter for selfies
The appearance of balut can vary on depending on where the bird was in development. This one in particular - I couldn't make out any distinct features so I am assuming it was on the early side.
Weird Food: Balut

As far as tastes go - my first bite wasn't bad. It honestly tasted kinda like a boiled egg. Most people put salt on it however I wanted to taste it by itself to get the full experience. The weird part were the textures. The yellow part of it was mushy however the white part was pretty tough kinda like beef jerky.
Weird Food: Balut
Sometimes HD isn't a good thing

Taking another bite, I uncovered to what I now realize was its head. The taste reminded me of pulled pork. You can see right next to my thumb there are feathers forming. One more bite and I was done. I sat there realizing that this was the second time in two blog posts (not counting my intro post) I ended up wondering if I was going to throw up later. I have a feeling this is going to be a recurring theme.

Next up: I will actually be going on vacation next week so I'll be on a hiatus. When I get back, I want to try Cow Brain tacos at La Mexicana in Newport!