you know that …
The balut to a Filipino is best served when it is seventeen
days old. It is eaten as just
one of the stages from egg to duck.
the fertilized duck’s egg generally believed to be an aphrodisiac or at
least an aid to virility, is familiar to Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipinos,
and perhaps to other Southeast Asians.
It is eaten as just one of the stages from egg to duck, with its own
special taste and excellence. For
Westerners to understand and to eat it, however, a cultural leap is
required. To some foreigners, they think we are insane.
Others are adventurous enough to try it. The prime balut to a Filipino is seventeen days old, with the
embryo enveloped in a white membrane (balut sa puti), very soft and tender,
with no feathers of beak visible yet. The
Vietnamese prefer their balut much older- nineteen to twenty days old, and
therefore much further along the line of development towards the fowl.
A balut-maker has said that his very best customers, his suki, who
buy regularly, are given the best 16- or 17-day-old eggs.
The eggs that he considers overgrown, at nineteen days, he sells to
vendors in bus or train terminals, who sell to customers whom they will
probably never see again. A rip-off if you come to think of it.
The suki relationship, a bond central to Philippine commerce, is thus
not developed in such a case, and not violated.