MANILA -- Some foreigners find it yucky but to Filipinos, "balut" (boiled duck embryo) is one yummy delicacy that will never go out of style.
Adding to the peculiarity of this appetizing street food is the melodious way vendors go about selling their wares throughout the night.
Cries of balut will either be long or short depending on the voice of the hawker of this tasty dish, which is also a rich source of calcium and protein.
In Cubao alone, stalls selling this delicacy abound - much to the delight of Filipinos from all walks of life with a craving for balut, which costs around PHP11 to PHP14 each.
“Binabalikan yung balut ko dahil sa suka, masarap kasi saka pati na rin ‘yung lasa (Many are craving for the balut that I sell because of my vinegar that goes with it. It's delicious),” said Wilma Apostol, 61, who has been selling balut for more than 10 years.
She gets her balut from the province of Laguna, not in Pateros as balut there is cheaper.
Also, the length of incubation before balut is cooked ranges between 14 and 21 days.
“Kasi masustansya at malasa ‘yung balut kaya marami bumibili. Mas mabenta ang balut araw-araw. Depende ang kita namin sa dami ng bumibili (There are many buyers because it is nutritious and delicious. Balut really sells like hotcakes. Of course, our income depends on the number of buyers),” Elvera Roa, 40, said.
Historically, the Chinese introduced balut to the Philippines around 1885, and is now considered one of the Filipino delicacies.
For Darwin Fernandez, 20, he prefers balut than “penoy" or unfertilized egg.
“Matagal na akong mahilig sa balut, minsan nga ‘pag galing sa eskwela, bumibili ako ng balut bago pumila sa pagsakay sa jeep (I'm fond of balut for a long time. There are times when I buy balut before falling in line for a jeepney ride on the way home from school),” he said, while eating balut.
Meanwhile, Russel Agang, 20, said while he was stunned with the sisiw (chick) inside it, what he really craves for is the egg's sabaw (the egg's amniotic fluid).
So the next time one hears a vendor chanting balut, it would be best to go out and experience this one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure. (with reports from Darwin C. Pesco, OJT/PNA)