Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Food: Hotel "Embryonic duck"@Vietnam, HCMC


I have long heard about Embryonic duck eggs (Trung vit lon) that were much relished by people of Vietnam & Philippines. These eggs were well-known for their superb nutritious value to these people. Nevertheless, savouring a cooked duck embryo that gone through half it's development stages STILL sounds pretty gross to me. It never ever strucked in my sane mind that I would "savouring" one of these eggs, until one fine day ...

While stroling along the busy streets of HCMC. Stumbled upon a cafe that sells Bo Bia. What really caught my initial attention was Bo Bia, it sounds so familiar with the po-piah that I so loved in Singapore. Bit of glancing around, revealing several white eggs in simmering water. When asked, the owner gladly pointed to a gentleman who was already devouring the half-born, fully cooked egg.

I hestiated. Wanting to retreat. A few strike of lightnings and moment later, the skies turns dark and began pouring. Stucked, stumbled, with no where to hide. Suddenly "Hotel California" rings in my head ...

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
'This could be Heaven or this could be Hell'
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...


Suddenly, I realise I was already seated. Plates of Bo Bia & an Embryonic egg sits visibility right in front. Damn hard decision which to go first. But finally settled to take a roll of Bo Bia. If it tastes good, I can proceed with the Embryonic egg then, leaving the last two rolls to mask off any aftertaste of the egg. Smart choice! (Assuring myself)


Usual ricepaper, vegetables with striking red colored stuffs that initially looks like chilli


First bite, crunchy vegetables finally revealing the red stuffs to be spicy-sweet shrimps. Dipping sauce of coarse chopped peanuts, hoisin sauce, chillies etc. This is good! So proceed with Part 2 of the plan.


Slowly crack the upper half of the egg, immediately, warm dark brown liquid began seeping out from the cracks. Quickly, I licked the warm liquid, taste exactly like meaty & full bodied broth. Ate a few peppery & minty Vietnamese mint (which we call laksa leaves as well) to counter the meaty aftertaste.


Sprinkle a mixed of salt, pepper and possible MSG provided onto the "partially naked" egg. First bite, taste of different textures. White portion like a soft bone, yellow like cooked yolk and lastly the gross meaty portion like tender young meat.


I paused for a breathier. A dozen of eyes sets upon me, wondering if this stranger is able to finish up the rest. Not wanting to lose out, I take a deep breath, sprinkle more salt/pepper mixture and began "devouring" the rest of this half-borned creature.


More herbs & bo bia began tucking into my mouth. FOllowed by heavy sipping salted lemon drink. Much relieved I have finally "conquered" this fright of mine.

Just as I finish the last drop of my drink, the rain stops, the skies shines. With a sense of pride & accomplishment, I begin to stroll proudly, feeling more confident of any (food) challenges ahead of me.

20 Comments:

Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Oh, great...baloot. Yum. Well, thanks for satisfying my curiousity about duck embryo. All of my Filipino co-workers have been talking this up for years and now I finally get to see it for myself.

Interesting...

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Done! I know I would not dare to myself, so this is a most admirable effort. The pictures are not as disgusting as this guy's encounter:

http://deependdining.blogspot.com/2005/09/balut-egg-of-darkness-pinoy-pinay.html

There's even a video but I did not view it.

Cheers
umami
http://umami.typepad.com/umami/

4:23 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

When I was younger, I used to eat the yolk of the egg but discard the actual duckling. Now I can't eat any part of the egg. I think it has something to do with the fact that I have 2 dogs now and see animals in a whole different light.

Speaking of dog, I hope you aren't going to try that delicacy in Vietnam. What a horrible thought...

4:47 AM  
Blogger lmdt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:44 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

aiyoh, you're very 'brave' in expanding your food frontiers, the thought of devouring balut scares the hell out of me! (making me gaggg......argh)

10:47 AM  
Blogger slurp! said...

writeprocrastinator,
you're welcome! game for a try? ;)

umami,
eeek! those looks like uncooked egg, dissected just for photography?? go view the video and tell me how it's like leh? ;)

cat,
you can find this in canada??
i know what you mean, who would want to eat their best friend?

dog meat are also available in china & korea as well. however i'm not thinking of trying any.

cath,
hmm .. what about the part of your motto that says "Game to try anything at least once, if not hazardous to health.. " kekeke ...

really, i'm not trying again, not becoz i'm afraid (afterall, i've tried fried insects, scorpions, snake wine etc) but becoz it doesn't really taste nice to me. will prefer our half-boiled non-embryonic chicken eggs anytime :)

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Joshua (gan55) said...

Woahz, wouldn't dare to try it. The picture of the open shell egg already looks so gross!

11:42 AM  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

"writeprocrastinator,
you're welcome! game for a try? ;)"

Um, don't get me wrong. I love Filipino and Vietnamese cuisines, I'm even down for the pork-blood gravy. I've had horse steaks and tartare in Parma, Italy and am willing to try alligator.

But baloot? I wonder if Pinoys and Pinays actually eat the stuff or is it just a perpetual joke to make non-Filipinos turn pale?

12:21 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

You can definitely get it in Canada, at practically any asian supermarket in fact.

I remember seeing these eggs on Fear Factor. I mean, the idea is gross but they doesn't actually taste bad, just...different.

5:47 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi slurp - gagging is hazardous to my health , so balut is OUT!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Passerby A said...

Wow so BRAVE!!!!!

11:51 PM  
Blogger slurp! said...

writeprocrastinator,
good on you! you may like to add vietamese as well :) food culture are interesting, hope to find more on this.

Just learnt that these eggs can be eaten raw or cooked. no way i'm trying the raw version.

cat,
"doesn't actually taste bad, just...different."
yes, I'm totally with you on that but but but ... it's just so different for me. :)

eh Josh, cath, diva
it's once a lifetime experience ...
the trick here is just don't look what you're eating and visualize "peking duck" omelette hehehe ...

12:13 PM  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Slurp,

"writeprocrastinator, good on you! you may like to add vietamese as well :) food culture are interesting, hope to find more on this."

I don't think you read this post on the bottom of my page when you popped over to my blog or else you would know that I have to be reaaaaal careful when I go to Vietnamese restaurants...


http://writeprocrastinator.blogspot.com/2005/11/aural-wrecks.html#links

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to those who say they wouldn't eat dog meat - it's not that much different from beef, pork, chicken, etc.

in india, they'd be appalled that you eat their sacred cow.

it's all perspective. dogs are bred in some of these countries to be eaten, just like pigs are bred to be eaten.

if you cannot stomache dog, why stomache pig or cow?

(i'm vegetarian by the way, so i can't stomache any of it :))

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Nice Blog!!!

3:01 AM  
Blogger Ember said...

I don't know if I could try that myself. I think I'll stick with non-emryonic chicken eggs.

Oddly enough dog and cat meat can be found online. Pretty expensive from what I hear.
www.puppybeef.com

Truly... eating one animal is just like eating any other. I see no difference between eating chicken, pork, beef and eating rabbit, cat, or dog. (not that I have tried those last three yet)

If people have a personal problem agianst eating one type of animal, it seems logical to eat none of them.

I, however, like eating meat. Though I do like animals and would much rather know they had a happy full life before turning into dinner. That is to say, they were not cramped up, they were treated with dignity, ect.

For this reason I look forward to a time when I can raise my own. Perhaps rabbits.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Ynna Mirzi said...

Ah...the infamous Balut! I've been eating it for as long as I can remember. It's sold everywhere, on the streets, in markets, malls and you can even hear vendors hawking it at night. That is actually the correct way of eating Balut (crack it open just a little on one end and sprinkle a little salt and vinegar inside) or you could just slurp it up plain like most Filipinos do. After you drink all of the "soup" you may now proceed to slowly eat the delicious balut parts...I actually consider it one of my comfort foods...yum yum!!

5:08 PM  
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4:57 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

I can not imagine he added testing these eggs, really is not any!

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brave?...The egg is delicious when eaten hot. The juice of the egg is amazing, and I personally don't eat the fetus and I wouldn't advise you to do so, just the yellow (yolk) and the white part.

5:59 AM  

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