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Unwelcome surprise in my eggs

Yuck! I cracked an egg for a cake recipe this morning and found inside ... you guessed it ... a little chicken fetus.

After I recovered, I figured this was a one-in-a-million anomaly, so out of curiosity I cracked three more from the same batch. Each one was the same.

I've never, ever encountered this before. Because I bought the eggs at a store whose clientele is largely Asian, I searched the web to see if this is some kind of delicacy in other cultures. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the egg-fertilization process and the love life of chickens and roosters, but no word on whether this is some kind of unique special thing, or even whether it's okay to eat eggs in this state. Personally, I found it completely disgusting but now I'm a bit intellectually curious.

Anybody got light to shed on this phenomenon? Meantime, I think I need gross-out counseling.

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Duck, not chicken. Great input tho, as always.

        1. re: linguafood

          ipsedixit is right. whilst Filipino balut are ducks' eggs, the Southern Chinese liked chicken embryonic eggs. I'd seen people eating these types of eggs in Penang when I was young, especially the "samsui" women or "mah cheh" from Guangdong province in China, who believe in the nutritional value of such eggs.
          For those American CHs who found it disgusting, well, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

          1. re: penang_rojak

            I confess that the idea of an embryonic chick/duck grosses me out a bit, although I am also rather curious and would probably give it a try if prepared by someone else. Hey, soft shelled crabs are a delicacy here; isn't that along the same lines?

            1. re: penang_rojak

              Chinese chicken balut eggs are also supposed to be good for nursing mothers.

        2. A-ha! So one is supposed to boil or deep-fry it, I see now.
          And though the info I see on the Internet describes balut as duck eggs, I guess chicken eggs must be a variant.
          And not so great for putting in cakes, however. ;)

          2 Replies
            1. re: linguafood

              But maybe the next time I want to torture my in-laws?

          1. "I searched the web to see if this is some kind of delicacy in other cultures"

            Yes, it is. It is prized with a small segment of Asian community. You must have went to the special section.

            "I found it completely disgusting"

            Me too.

            1. We used to buy our eggs from local farms (well, up until last month, when we moved away from our rural area) and would occasionally end up with a fetus. It always skeeved me out, too. Interesting to know that these are a delicacy in some cultures. Personally, I prefer my poultry either wholly formed, or as an egg. The in-between stage doesn't sound very appealing as a meal.

              1. When you have a henhouse (my folks, way back when) and you send your little girl (me) out once a day to gather the eggs, there will always be one or more hens who won't budge, so you leave them be.

                This random process results in a fertilized egg with fetus development getting into the egg basket from time to time. Mom got in the habit of breaking each egg individually as a precaution before adding it to the bowl.

                1. I purchased "baby duck egg" from my local Asian Market here in Cleveland, Ohio. I didn't expect it to be as developed as it was, so that was a suprise. I was told by a women at the check out counter to boil the egg for 15 minutes and make sure to drink the liquid from inside the egg. She told me it was good for 'man strengh' and provided me with a mini clenched fist and scrunched up face as a way to explain herself better.

                  I followed those directions. It was gross, but I ate a bit of it. Tasted like duck, and the liquid was putrid. I would not eat it again, but refused to waste what I had.

                  The eggs were rather costly though at $3 each, and very heavy for their size. I'm always careful to buy eggs from the Asian Market since.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: mikey031

                    And how's that "man strength' coming along? Surely, all those things Asians/Chinese consider to be working must work, no?

                    1. re: linguafood

                      Not so great. Maybe I didn't eat enough?

                      1. re: linguafood

                        You really need to eat it more than a few times to get the "man strength". :D

                          1. re: linguafood

                            We, men, sacrifice so much for women. We eat all these disgusting things to make you happy.

                            Oh the humanity!


                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Well, that might depend on the man we're talking about. My man eats delicious things all the time (mostly prepared by me), and has yet to hear any complaints regarding his 'strength'.

                              Perhaps I'm just very, very lucky. As he is, for sure '-P

                      2. re: mikey031

                        Just like underseasoning a stew will result in a bland concoction, eating your balut plain is going to be somewhat of a disappointment. The liquid inside is a little funky and best tempered with some salt and something sour like vinegar or citrus juice.

                        I can't attest to "man strength," but allegedly these are also great at preventing hangovers, so you eat them with beer, although some might argue you'd have to be several beers deep in order to want to eat balut.

                      3. Your eggs are apparently free-range with a rooster to keep the hens in line. ; )

                        By the way, that 'fetus' is actually an embryo in poultry parlance.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: John E.

                          "Your eggs are apparently free-range with a rooster to keep the hens in line. ; )"

                          So true, and spot on.