{Travel stories} Balut, the bravest thing I have ever eaten

Travel location: Pampanga, Philippines
When I went: November 2014

To some, eating balut is no big deal; they have it at family parties, or eat it several times a year. My family did not eat it growing up, so I was not  sure if I would be comfortable trying it.

The idea of it often grossed me out as balut is a developing duck embryo that is often boiled and eaten in the shell. I have eaten insects, pigs intestines, snake, and turtle soup, but feel that balut still wins in terms of being an adventurous food item.

My friends and I were at the night market in San Fernando City, Pampanga where there were rows of fruit stands and meat skewers being cooked over charcoal. With only one balut vendor on the street, I thought it was a great opportunity to try something I haven’t eaten before.

Night market

Night market

Balut stand

Balut stand

When I cracked my egg opened, luckily I did not recognize any body parts of the duck. I was told by my friends to sip the salty amniotic fluid first, followed by biting into the egg.

I ate the egg as quickly as I could noticing that the yolk was extremely large, with the yolk and juice way saltier than a boiled chicken egg. I felt brave, yet super guilty eating it.

My egg

My egg

Looking at my friend’s egg however, I could see the beak, a flopping neck and head. That is where I would have drawn the line. If you saw this, would you have eaten it?!
Balut Pampanga (2)

Tell me about your interesting travel eats in the comments below, or lets connect through Instagram and Twitter @themary_tang

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