Have you ever watched an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and thought to yourself, “Never will I ever eat that disgusting [email protected]#*”? Plenty of times, probably. Andrew Zimmern explores locales and foods far so exotic, it would make you think just how safe, ordinary, and on the verge of being boring your culinary repertoire is. There is much good in eating exotic fanfare from time to time. It opens your mind to the big, big world around you and educates you on other people’s lifestyle, culture, and history. For most cultures, the history behind exotic food does not start with “Let’s get wild and eat the grossest thing we can find”; it rather often starts with the basic need to survive, with making use of what is made readily available by Mother Nature. Veering out of the ordinary to try exotic food broadens your culinary experience and allows you to discover new tastes and gustatory sensations. The excitement of it all gives you an adrenaline high, which is good for your mind, too. Don’t cower the next time you see Andrew put something strange in his mouth; take his cue, instead!
Balut is basically boiled duck embryo. It has four components- warm broth, soft egg yolk, chewy egg white, and the pièce de résistance, the baby duck. Balut may sound too exotic to outsiders, but it is actually a common, well-loved street delicacy in the Philippines. At around 6 to 8 in the evening, it is not unusual to hear a vendor affectionately yodeling “baluuuuut” as he peddles the egg with salt and spiced vinegar. Locals claim it is best paired with beer, but it is common knowledge that everything is indeed better with beer. Balut can also be found in other South East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.