Balut is one of the common and popular dish of Vietnamese people, and it is considered a nutritious dish in the Eastern countries. Being a street food in Vietnam, balut is sold in many places from street vendors in the street corners or small food restaurants; its price is quite cheap, only from 7000- 8000 VND /egg. Balut is preferred in some other Asian countries like China, Philippines, and Cambodia, but the processing method is quite different.
In countries where people enjoy this dish regularly, so it’s normal to eat balut. But for foreigners who have never tasted, many show different reactions and very few people are brave enough to try this dish. That is a reason why this dish often appears in the show of courage tests on television in many Western countries. Furthermore, many world food magazines ranked this dish on the list of “The most horror food in the world”.
So why is balut classified as “The most horrible dish in the world”? Let’s explore it in Vietnamese cuisine.
1. What is balut ?
Balut is made from duck eggs when its inside has formed an embryo of young duck usually from 17-21 days old.
When the embryo of the duck is 17-21 days old, it has formed all the parts and feather, that many people feel scared when seeing the first time, and this is also the reason why balut is classified into one of the horror dishes.
2. How to make balut
Many tasty dishes can be made from baluts, but in Vietnam, the most popular dish is boiled balut. This dish may be quite simple, but for people who don’t how long to cook balut and just calculate the time to cook usually depend on their senses and experiences.
The exact time to cook baluts is very important because if you cook for a short time, balut will not be cooked evenly. Conversely, if you cook it for a long time, it will lose its nutrition. To keep its nutrition, you should follow the steps below.
Prepare a clean pot, put it on the cooker, arrange eggs into the pot. Pour cold water over the surface of eggs. The level of water can contribute to baluts’ quality.
Tip: add a spoon of salt before turn on the cooker to avoid breaking.
Boil the water then turn down the heat, cook over low heat for 15m. Cook more 5 minutes for old eggs. Don’t boil too long, baluts can be solid and hard. Conversely, if you don’t spend enough time boiling, it can cause stomachache.
So we should boil baluts for 15-20 minutes.
3. How to eat baluts
In Viet Nam, each region has its own way to enjoy baluts.
In the north of Vietnam
In the North, people usually enjoy baluts by beating it into a bowl (maybe 1 or 2 eggs), then add sliced ginger, laksa leaves, soup powder, garlic vinegar, and chili, and you can use aspoon to ladle. This is a convenient way of eating, and in this way, the spices will mix together, this can bring a unique and harmonious taste.
In the middle of Vietnam
In the middle region, people eat baluts by cracking the shell and using their hands to peel out a small hole, then drink the water from this hole. After that, people peel the shell slowly, they eat and peel each part at the same time. People should follow this way to avoid the fishy taste. On the other hand, the people in the middle of Vietnam often keep baluts in sacks to keep warm, and it is not hot as in other regions, so people are not afraid of hand burns and mouth burns.
In the south of Vietnam
The way to eat baltut in the south is relatively complicated because you must put the eggs on a small bowl. When putting the eggs, you should pay attention to putting the small head down and the big head up, because the big head has a gap of air. Then, we use a small spoon to make a small hole in the egg and scoop. When eating, you can eat with a little salt and pepper and laksa leaves. Many people use this same cup to pour the eggs’ water, drink and eat.
This is an egg-eating style influenced by French culture. The French have a special way to eat egg yolk by using a small cup which is specially designed to hold eggs, and this dish is called in French “œufs à la coque” – a favorite dish of many French children.
4. What is baluts served with?
Baluts are believed to be delicious when served with laksa leaves and sliced ginger. Many people reckon that it is just an eating habit to avoid boredom. But actually, both spices have their own merits when combined with baluts.
Laksa leaves help keep stomach warm, prevent flatulence and stomachache. The benefits of ginger are to stimulate the digestive system and detoxication. The combination of eggs, laksa leaves and ginger not only creates a delicious taste but also helps fix eggs’ demerits (coldness and indigestation).
Today, with the variety of regional cuisines, balutsare also transformed into many other attractive fast food or served with dishes that seem unrelated to.
For example, baluts are served with Bun Rieu. It means, after blanching, you can beat an egg into a bowl and pour the sour soup into. Many people say if following this way makes the noodles sweeter because the eggs are very suitable for crab soup. Baluts are also added into a hot pot. Many eaters reckon that the protein from the eggs can help hot pot broth be sweeter and tastier.
Besides, baluts are transformed into fast food that attracts young people such as baluts with mugwort, stir-fried baluts (or quail eggs) with tamarind, fried baluts mixed with fried taro …
5. When should we eat baluts?
In the North, people usually eat baluts for their breakfast. In the South, they enjoy this dish from afternoon to evening. So when should we eat baluts?
Nutrition experts answer that you should eat baluts in the morning and avoid eating in the evening, because this is an indigestion dish, if you enjoy eggs in the evening, you will feel uncomfortable when going to bed, sometimes this leads to flatulence and indigestible.
6. How much eggs shoud we eat?
Baluts are a very nutritious dish. Therefore, eating a lot of eggs every day can lead to the increasing amount of cholesterol in the blood, resulting in cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure and diabetes … it also causes the increasing amount of protein, which is not good for people with gout.
Eating a lot of balutsregularly can cause an excessive amount of vitamin A, which will accumulate under the skin and liver, leading tojaundice, peeling skin and adverse impact on forming bones. Therefore, each adult should eat 2 eggs per week.
7. Who should eat baluts?
Baluts provide nutrients to nourish and help the body produce energy. So this is a suitable dish for thin people who want to gain weight.
In addition, balutsare a nutritious dish, so it is good for pregnant women. However, according to nutrition experts, you should not eat every day. Pregnant women should eat 2 eggs per week, but not at the same time. However, laksa leaves and ginger can cause heat inside and miscarriage if you eat too much. So, if eating baluts, pregnant women should not eat more laksa leaves and ginger.
8. Who should not eat baluts?
Children under 5 years old should not eat baluts, because their digestive system is not fully developed, it can easily lead to bloating, digestive disorders and is very harmful to health. Children over 5 years old should eat ½ egg once or twice a week (1/2 baluts are equivalent to 4-5 quail eggs).
In addition, obese people, the elderly and patients with hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease or gout need to limit eating this dish. Particularly, healthy adults should eat 2 eggs once a week.
9. Note when eating baluts
Don’t eat baluts stored overnight
Baluts stored overnight consist of nutrients that produce harmful bacteria. Therefore, you should not eat this overnight egg.
Don’t drink tea aftering eating baluts
Many people have a habit to drink a cup of tea after eating baluts, but tea leaves consist of axit tannic mixed with eggs’ protein, leading to indigestible disease.