Miss Universe 2017 Contestants Eat Duck Embryo: Facts About Philippines’ Famous Balut

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Miss Universe 2017 Contestants Eat Duck Embryo: Facts About Philippines’ Famous Balut PHOTOGRAPH: Flickr/shankar s. | Under CC BY 2.0

A group of Miss Universe contestants, led by Miss Philippines Maxine Medina tasted the popular local delicacy of Philippines, Balut, on January 30. Among those who were brave enough to give the fertilized duck embryo a go were contestants from Cayman Islands, Vietnam, and the USA. The Balut sampling was part of Miss Universe coronation night, a tradition when contestants from all over the world are familiarized with the cuisine and culture of the host country.

Facts About Balut

A Balut is a developing duck embryo that is fertilized inside its egg shell for 18 days before consuming. Even though it has been described by many as a savory and soupy delight, the appearance of the delicacy can turn people off. The sheer look of a premature duck with hints of beaks, eyes and wings is enough to give one nightmares.

Balut has often qualified in the “most disgusting/strange/terrifying food” list, reported CNN. Filipinos are trying to preserve the heritage behind their local specialty. One of the ways, they figured, was to introduce it to their children from young age. This way, there remains a chance they would not be revolted by it when they try it later in their lives.

The strategy, however, has not worked in the favor of the local folk so far. Manila resident Anna Vecin recalled how she and her classmates were forced to perform science experiments on Balut and then made to eat it. “And if we didn’t eat it, we’d get a low score on that day’s lesson. Of course, I had no choice but to eat it,” said she.

Where To Find Balut In America?

So naturally, when a few of beauty pageant hopefuls strut down the streets of Philippines to boldly try out the famous, yet controversial delicacy, it was sure to make heads turn. And it did. According to Rappler, Maxine Medina was seen teaching the girls how to eat Balut properly. This is understandable as one can get quite confused whether to poke it with a fork or eat it like an oyster.

If one wants to try Balut but do not want to spend airfare to Manila, Philippines, one can always hop down to Maharlika, a Filipino restaurant in East Village, New York, reported Business Insider. It will undoubtedly be one of the more stranger food experiences in NYC. However, for people looking to try out new food options, it is definitely worth trying.

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