Category Archives: balut

this is bizarre food?!

#2son and i saw the Bizarre Foods episode, when Andrew Zimmern went to the Philippines.
all through out that hour long program we were expecting a lot of “yucks” and “phooeys” from him. we were so astonished (and relieved! in a very peculiar way) that he loved it! the experience of it all anyway…he tasted balut, dinuguan, coconut grubs, mangrove worms, …and ice cream and bread sandwiches.
there he was in the middle of a busy street corner, somewhere in the heart of Manila, surrounded by curious but smiling faces, and he thought it was wild that ice cream made its way in between bread slices.


i immediately thought of profiteroles, ice cream scoops in between choux pastry (same one used for cream puffs). there’s also semlor from my Scandinavian Baking Book, not exactly frozen, but cold whipped cream and almonds in between sweet pastry dough.

so when my February Gourmet arrived…there they were on the cover, profiteroles with a come-hither look.
my family loved them! Continue reading


let it go…come on.
it’s just something we eat.
i grew up eating balut. for the longest time i didn’t touch the duck but relished the yolk part of it until one day i tried it then…loved it. if i had detested it then i would have continued just having the yolk and sharing the duck with someone who loved it, just as we did when our parents and grandparents hailed the night vendors who hawked it.
i never heard of any monster/vampire/aswang stories associated with it.
i have always considered the cavepeople who first discovered that oysters, crabs, lobsters and mussels were edible my personal heroes. i consider cooking to be one of the best bits of evidence of the highest intelligence in the animal kingdom. who would have thought: snails could be stuffed, sheep’s skulls could be cracked and broiled or sauteed in butter, to sumptuous results? who nudged open the first sea urchin and found out the roe was the best part?
so it is that the development of the techniques that brought about the balut, and its enjoyment as a luscious, nutritious delicacy, should be understood in just that light. we eat it. it doesn’t take great valor to ingest it. it should never have been imbued with such fearsome factors or gruesome allusions, or as the sign of acceptance to a culture when one marries into it.
all it takes is civility when cultures collide or exist side by side. RESPECT. i won’t make you eat it if you say no thank you. i’ll say no thanks to your live monkey brains and donkey meat marinated in tiger urine and deep fried capybara and barbecued tree snake and frog sushi.
i won’t ask you to test your macho machismo and i will never apologize for what you think is “sorta gross.”
how i eat my balut… Continue reading