Balut Challenge: Aussie Team Bravely Takes On This Food Eating Challenge - TOA GLOBAL

Balut Challenge: Aussie Team Bravely Takes On This Food Eating Challenge

Filipinos are known for being hospitable and that’s why our Aussie friends love it here in the Philippines.

What’s not to enjoy? Aside from the fact that we are extremely accommodating, we serve amazing food. In fact, one travel website called Yonderbound named the Philippines as one of top countries with the best cuisines. Well, we can’t disagree to that. Incidentally, Pampanga is home to sisig, one of the best Pinoy foods according to CNN Travel.

We’re pretty sure all of our Australian mates have tried it at least once. But there’s one other uniquely Filipino delicacy everyone needs to try: the (in)famous balut.

What is balut?

Balut (pronounced as “bah-loot“) is a three-week old fertilised chicken or duck egg that is regarded as an exotic food by Filipinos. It’s so popular it has been featured in popular international TV shows like Survivor and Fear Factor. It’s no wonder it’s become part of the welcome-to-the-Philippines starter pack.

While it looks like a common hard boiled egg on the outside, the innocent-looking  delicacy has more to offer inside. And that’s maybe why many Westeners find it strange, petrifying or even disgusting to eat.

Significance of balut to the BPO culture

Eating balut is not an exciting prospect for our Australian friends. Some will be quick to say no but there are those with an adventurous spirit (and tough tummies) who will gladly accept the challenge (and eventually throw up). Others will question the reason why it’s even a thing in the first place while others will swear that “it tastes like chicken.”

But then there are those who will say that this is our way of getting back at them for making us eat Vegemite. Well, there’s a little bit of truth in that, but it’s all good. Incredible fun will go down in the books when we get our Australian mates to finally try this world-renowned delicacy–all in the name of culture appreciation and camaraderie. Also, this can be a great story to tell the grandkids in the future, don’t you think?

Role of balut in Filipino culture

Balut is a popular street food commonly sold along the stalls of night markets. This high-protein snack is also popular in neighbouring countries like Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Here in the Philippines, people buy balut to eat on long journeys, after dinner or midnight. As delicious as this may be for many, some would have to be careful about eating too much because balut is high in cholesterol. Consuming more than the required amount, which is one per day, can make you feel dizzy. It can get worse if you combine it with alcohol.

Balut is deeply ingrained in Pinoy culture. However, less and less young urbanites are loving it because of the country’s modernising palate. In an attempt to preserve this culture, some schools have introduced balut to young students during science classes. After studying the bird’s anatomy, students are encouraged to try the egg to avoid getting a low score.

Anatomy of balut

What’s inside this exotic egg? Depending on the incubation time, which is 18-21 days and the manner in which the embryo developed, you’ll discover that there are several types of balut.

 

balut challenge - anatomy of balut

 

It has three main parts: white part, yellow part and a nicely developed embryo. You read that right: an embryo complete with head, eyes, beak, umbilical cord and feathers. Not to mention that it’s all covered with veins and blood vessels. Can you stomach it?

Is it even nutritious?

For the health conscious, the first question is: what is its nutritional content? Surprisingly, it may not sound appealing but balut has high protein content, calcium and iron. For every serving of balut, you can get 181 calories as well as the following:

  • 10g or 60% fat
  • 14g or 37% protein
  • 1g or 3% carbohydrate

Cooking balut

While it’s easy to find balut (you can find a vendor basically in every street) it might be helpful to have an idea on how it’s cooked. Unlike regular eggs, these do not undergo the usual food inspection and grading. You can buy uncooked balut and just like the usual egg, simply boil it for 20 to 30 minutes to kill the bacteria that developed during the incubation period.

How does it taste and how do you eat it?

Commonly eaten cooked in most parts of Southeast Asia, balut may also be eaten raw, but only on very rare occasions. It’s preferred to eat balut cooked because it tastes better and it kills microorganisms that can cause diseases. Balut can be boiled, fried or used as an ingredient in other dishes/

As for the taste, because palate preferences differ, the most common review of balut is that it tastes like chicken. The broth is what brings out the flavour. You can also use seasonings like vinegar, chili and salt and pepper to enhance the taste.

 

balut challenge - how to eat

 

Here’s a quick and easy step on how to eat balut and save yourself the mess.

  1. Crack the egg. Look for the hollw part and crack it gently using a spoon or fork or simply smash it on any hard surface.
  2. Crack lightly. Make sure that you don’t crack all the way through. It’s enough to make a small hole.
  3. Drink the broth. Put salt and drink from the hole.
  4. Peel off shell. Once the broth is consumed, you can now peel the egg.
  5. Eat the embryo. Save the best for last. After downing the broth, it’s time to put the embryo inside your mouth. It’s advisable to eat it whole (most people do) so you don’t have time to think about biting through a well-formed chick. You can leave out the white rubbery part.

How will our Aussie team fare against the balut?

So, just how brave is our Aussie team? Let’s admit it: it’s always fun to watch non-Pinoys try out balut for the very first time. All in the name of culture appreciation and camaraderie, four strong-willed men took on the challenge: Nick Sinclair (CEO), Ben Vickers (COO), Ross Dougall (CMO) and Cameron Wright (Relationship Manager).

 

 

Their reaction

Did they enjoy it? More importantly, will they do it again? Here are their reactions.

nick tries balut challengeNick Sinclair, CEO

Did you have any hesitation before eating the balut? What were they?

“No hesitations from me. You only live once, why not try another country’s traditional food?”

What does balut taste like?

“It tastes like a boiled egg, with a few crunchy chewy bits.”

Would you do it again? If no, what would it take you to do it again?

“Yes without a doubt.”

Any other thoughts?

“When you’re in the Philippines, make certain this is one of your cultural experiences. And to make it easier to eat, sprinkle salt on it as well as vinegar.”

ben tries balut challengeBen Vickers, COO

Did you have any hesitation before eating the balut? What were they?

“Yes, I didn’t want to consume an infant bird”

What does balut taste like?

“An infant egg.”

Would you do it again? If no, what would it take you to do it again?

“No I wouldn’t. It would take a lot.”

Any other thoughts?

“I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t enjoy food or is open to exploring cultures. I’d try anything once.”

ross tries balut challengeRoss Dougall, CMO

Did you have any hesitation before eating the balut? What were they?

“None whatsoever. Until I started to get scared. Something about not having tried the stage in between a boiled egg and chicken before.”

What does balut taste like?

“Salty, vinegary and like a big ol’ egg yolk.”

Would you do it again? If no, what would it take you to do it again?

“Absolutely. It’s fun.”

Any other thoughts?

“It’s just great to be able to have the opportunity to share and understand such a great culture better, if it involves food then that’s always a bonus! Give it a go!”

cam tries balut challengeCameron Wright, Relationship Manager

Did you have any hesitation before eating the balut? What were they?

“Yes because it looked rotten.”

What does balut taste like?

“Juicy, warmish mush.”

Would you do it again? If no, what would it take you to do it again?

“No never. I would have to be tricked into eating again.”

Any other thoughts?

“I don’t want to see that video again (haha).”


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