- Howard L Apr 3, 2003 01:51 PM
Tell me about Balut....how is it cooked and eaten, and is there maybe a restaurant in New York where it is served? Thanx
I've eaten it but sadly, not in New York so can't help you on that aspect. You should check out Vietnamese or Filipino shops.
It looks disgusting but tastes great - like the most intense chicken broth you've ever tasted. Because that's what it is, chicken soup cooked in a sealed container (the shell), with no added liquid to dilute the flavours. All you do is boil the egg for 10 minutes. After it's cooked you can either break the egg open and scoop it into a bowl or just eat the contents straight from the shell (but it's best to have a bowl underneath to catch the liquid - you don't want to lose any of that). Sprinkle it with a little salt to bring out the flavour.
Like I said before, it looks really disgusting. Depends on how developed the baby chicken was (you can buy them in different degrees of maturity). The ones I've eaten have been pretty advanced, although with some yolk remaining. So what you see is a dead baby chicken, with the eyes still closed and some pin feathers on it. Sorry to be so graphic, but I wasn't really prepared the first time I ate one, and I'm not the squeamish type. Once you get over that initial revulsion, it's fantastic.
Elvie's has closed sadly. There are big Filipino communities in Elmhurst Queens and Jersey City - along Newark Avenue. I'd suggest going to either neighborhood to find balut.
I am American and eat balut sober. I'm not quite sure why it freaks people out the way it does - I mean, most people eat duck (or at least chicken) and unfertilized chicken, duck, quail, etc. eggs, so what's the big deal? It is really tough to find in the US, though. It is not difficult to prepare (traditionally boiled, though there are other recipes and even some gourmet chefs have made menus out of it), but finding the eggs is a total pain because the growing is the most difficult part. Instead of trying to track down a restaurant, try http://www.metzerfarms.com/ for the eggs (or if you have a local duck farm you can save on shipping and ask them) and track down a recipe that sounds tasty to you.