Thanks to Mrs. Chili for reminding me of this memory:
I’m about as adventurous an eater as they come. I’ll try it once, whatever it is.
Ahem. Ever had a balut? It’s a hard-boiled duck or chicken egg, but fertilized. Call ‘em “late term,” too—the chick is just about done. They originated in either Vietnam or the Philippines, and are generally sold as street food.
Twelve or so years ago, my mom came back from a trip to eastern Asia raving about these things. Moreover, she wanted to get set up with someone local to get a steady stream of eggs in the correct state of development. She did, and in time for me to visit. Oh goody.
I’m going to spare you photos, but rest assured, they’re at least as bad as the mental image you’ve likely generated for yourself—which is to say, they’re quite disgusting-looking. The Wikipedia article has a few images. You’ve been warned.
So I sat for my grand cultural gustatory experience. Now I like eggs, and I like chicken. Seems a reasonable stretch that I’d like a balut, however it looks, right?
They were little eggs—slightly smaller than the smallest eggs commonly sold in the grocery store. For that I was grateful. I peeled it. Ever peeled a hard-boiled egg while simultaneously trying not to look at it? It was a big bite, but I could reasonably make it only one, so that’s what I did.
Now it’s in my mouth. I’m going to have to chew it. OK, here…I…go.
The taste itself isn’t so bad. I had salted it on Mom’s recommendation, and under the salt was sort of a non-specific poultry vibe, with maybe a vaguely discomforting edge to it.
But the texture. Oh, my dear sweet Moses, the texture.
I got it down. I didn’t quite vomit, but it was as close as you ever come without doing so. I was immediately off my beer, and I didn’t have much of an appetite for the rest of the afternoon. All the while, Mom was poppin’ ‘em like Pringles.
I couldn’t have chewed up and swallowed another one for $10,000.