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Dec 25, 2011 11:03 AM

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.