Cambodia – Home, Sweet Home
The shop owner, a slim, raven-haired lass, asked me, “Do you like pong tia koun?” What?
She explained it was something similar to a hard-boiled duck egg. ‘Balut,’ she said. Oh, sure, that sounds okay. Well, as it turned out, it was neither egg nor duck, not as we know them. Balut is actually a partially formed duck embryo. A fetus. the egg/duck in this embryonic/fetal state There is a yoke – rich with capillaries – (yum?) But, the hard-boiled yolk’s consistency is no longer that familiar uniform, yellow smooth/dry texture. But rather, while spooning out the meal from the broken top of the eggshell, I found the texture to be quite variable — ranging from a moist firm light-colored (and rather tasty) gelatinous substance, to the classic hard-boiled egg yolk, to a more chewy/crunchy/what-baby-duck-part-was-that substance. The salt and lime dipping sauce made it all go down more easily. And the liquid surrounding the cooked duck in the shell was actually quite yummy slurped from the shell.
I politely declined.