Balut-Eating Contest In The Heart Of NYC
You must have seen people scarfing down hot dogs, chicken wings, and burritos at food contests all over the country. But have you ever seen a man wolfing down 18 duck embryos in just 5 minutes? You may have if you were among the crowd present at the first Balut-eating contest, organized in Dekalb Market in Brooklyn, New York last weekend. By the way, Balut is duck egg in Filipino. But even if you were not present there, or haven't heard or read about it, here is the complete dope on this strange, but interesting, contest.
Eating Duck Embryos
Hundreds of people gathered at the Filipino Maharlika restaurant in the Market, to watch 10 participants gulp down Balut, in the First Annual Balut Eating Contest. While the skeptics may dismiss this event as disgusting, people who were gathered in the Dekalb Market on Saturday thought otherwise. Among them was Wayne Algeni, who eventually claimed the gluttonous glory of a different kind at this contest. At the beginning of the contest, Algeni was just one of the contestants but when the event ended, he had consumed 18 embryos and won the competition.
And The Winner Is...
Algeni ate duck fetuses at a lightening speed, while his co-contestants followed him at a close distance. The winner goes by the nickname, "Wayney Wonder" and when he was asked about the taste of those unborn ducks, he said, "It tastes just like an egg." Yeah, right! Wayne was eating Balut for the first time, as per his own admission, "I had never tried it before this contest. This is the first time I've had it. But it tasted like an egg. I didn't think about the little animal I was eating."
A regional delicacy of the Philippines, Balut is actually duck embryo, which is about a fortnight away from hatching. This embryo is fertilized, boiled, and then eaten right out of the shell, same way as you would eat a normal egg. When someone eats it at leisure, he can season it with salt and sugarcane vinegar. The interesting aspect of this delicacy is that it is a rich source of protein, and an aphrodisiac, just like the good old raw oyster. Miguel Trinidad, executive chef and partner of a Filipino Restaurant in NYC, explains how you should eat this embryo, "Once you crack it open, there is basically a soup in it and you crack it open, you drink that soup and then you eat the yolk and inside you see a baby duckling. Sometimes you might get lucky and you might find one that has a few feathers, a little bit of a beak on it, but you do see a little embryo and that's the part that you eat along with the yolk and the soup. And it's a great source of protein. It's considered an aphrodisiac. It's supposed to give people power." This is one delicacy, which is already included in the list of weirdest Asian snacks.
After winning the contest, Wayne was given a black and gold belt to declare his victory, at least till the next Balut-eating contest comes around. People have won contests eating burritos, hot dogs, and chicken wings but this is the first time, Balut has taken the centerstage in an eating competition. Are you already interested?
Image Courtesy: gothamist, allvoices