Wednesday

World's Wierd Foods

I was on my way home the other day, J picked me up and on our way he was asking about "balut". I asked where did he hear that word. He said that he was watching the travel channel and they featured "balut" as the number one in the world's wierdest foods. He even recorded the show just to show me. And he was making that squirmy face saying ewwwwwwwww! I told him that he didn't know what he was missing. It's actually yummy to my taste. I admit I prefer "penoy" than the one with duck's embryo in it.

I didn't even know how this Pinoy delicacy is prepared. They showed how they prepare them in the province of Laguna in a duck farm. They collect the fertilized eggs and place them in baskets. They keep them in a room and cover or incubate them with rice husks to keep the temperature at 98% F. They would look at the embryos under a light bulb, a dead embryo would be sold as "penoys" with a cheaper price.

Before they cook the "balut" they would clean and brush them thoroughly with sponge until clean, then boil them.

Most Filipinos eat "balut" because they think of it as an aphrodisiac, especially men. They believe they last longer and makes men more potent. It is usually eaten as a snack(mirienda) or in between meals.

Although most of time you'll find "balut" sold by the sidewalk, some restaurants are starting to integrate it in thier menu and tried to prepare it in different manners like sauteing and soufle especially when it is prepared for a westener. According to the host of the show,"balut" maybe considered an aphrodisiac, it might be hard for a westerner to stomach.

They also mentioned "deer penis soup", cooked (boiled,fried) "rocky mountain oysters" but not oysters but actually bull's testicles cut up and boil, fry or sauteed. they also mentioned grilled grasshoppers, and worm tacos in Mexico. I eaten some bugs when I was young. Me and my dad would go digging for this special kind of beetles that bury themselves under the ground just next to a tree. He would them fry them up and viola! it's tasty. I had some baby bees too, the early stage(larvea) when they look like worms. My dad would get the honeycombs and we would drain the honey and cook the baby bees. As far as I can remember they taste good. And I had grilled dragonflies too.

If we talk about wierd foods, I have a lot to share. Have you ever tried eating lizards? I have eaten monitor lizards(bayawak) when I was young. It is actually yummy. It is close to alligator meat. If you have been to New Orleans you should try alligator on the stick if you happen to go to the French Open Market.

Perhaps eating dog meat isn't that wierd, or perhaps it is. I haven't seen all the wierd foods they showed. I told J that I love dog's skin sauteed with a lot of green onions and sprinkled with calamansi or lemon. And he looked at me like I am a cannibal. He even told his twin sister to keep Tate, her dog away from me. I told him that dogs in the Philippines are not the kind of cuddly dogs that they have here in the US. They are more of wild dogs. And they really do bite.

Of course J doesn't like "bagoong" or fish suace. He doesn't even like dried fish. I tried cooking "sinigang na bangus" (milkfish boiled with tamarind or guava seasoning). He was like "what the hell is this? Boiled fish!

When I was in Hongkong, I have seen some cages of snakes at the entrance of a restaurant. Some Chinese and Japanese people drink snake soup. I thought all Chinese people would like snake soup. I asked my former boss if she drink snake soup and she shuddered saying "it's horrible!"

I was talking to some Americans about these Filipino delicacies we have and they don't even want to try them. But if we have to go around the world and see and experience other cultures. One might be surprised that the common burgers we have here in America could be considered wierd by other people. I would imagine my parents puzzled expression if I serve them salad and burger. They might say " what are these?" Or is this all we eat? Considering that a burger might be considered a snack. I actually have a friend in New Orleans. We went to get sandwiches at Subway. When I ordered mine with some lettuce,cucumber,onions, green pepers and olives. She was surprised that I eat raw vegetables. She said she does not eat raw vegetables. But she has been in the US for years now. Oh well, I guess she cooks all her veggies.

Oh, yeah I could go on and on with food. Still,way back in HK, I just love thier food there. Everything can be bought fresh. I mean real fresh from vegetables, to seafood and even meat. One time I was at the open market by Kowloon, I saw two western women walking by the wet market. When they saw the cut fish with its intestines moving, they were like ewwwwwwwwww! That's something you don't see in the groceries here in the US except at the international markets where they sell fish still swimming in the tanks. Of course I miss the different kinds of vegetables they don't have here and of course some fruits I couln't fine here like green mangoes, lanzones, rattan fruit and others. I guess the climate has something to do with the enormous vegetation that the tropical regions have that does not grow in some other parts of the world.

Of course the best eating utensil I bring everywhere I go, are my fingers. Yes, I still eat with my hands instead of spoon and of course I have become very very good at using chopsticks.

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