Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Maharlika Balut Eating Contest

If you are in search of pretty photos of 
ingredients and delectable dishes, 
this post is not for you.  

If you seek culinary inspiration to 
help you cook a beautiful meal for your loved ones, 
this post is not for you. 

If you are looking for a post that will make 
your tummy rumble with excitement and anticipation...




However, if you ARE someone who is on a diet and is in desperate need to find images of intense unabashed food RAWNESS that 
will help SUPPRESS your appetite...
then please, by all means, do continue. 

Sigh. Here we go. 

I did something stupid. 

I entered an eating contest. 
It wasn't your run-of-the-mill state fair pie eating contest, 
it was a balut eating contest. 

Photograph courtesy of Jill Futter
I am not a girl with many talents, but one of the talents 
that I do posses is the ability to eat and enjoy 
large amounts of food in one sitting. 

When I heard that my favorite Filipino restaurant, Maharlika
was hosting a balut eating contest in Brooklyn
I knew immediately that I wanted to give it a shot.

I have this insatiable curiosity for food that will either guide my stomach towards food utopia or lead me down a very dark path.
  This balut eating contest lead me down a very dark, black path.  

For a NORMAL person, the mere thought of scarfing down a juicy balut (aka duck fetus) would immediately tickle your gag reflex and cause a 
SANE person to dry heave uncontrollably. 
I guess I am not a normal or sane person. 
I will try anything once, even if it means shoving 
multiple duck fetus down my throat.   

The thing is, I've had it before in Cambodia 
and actually liked it.

When I stayed on my grandfather's duck farm outside of Siem Reap,
 I probably ate a dozen of these ominous little eggs 
(little being the operative word). 

The duck fetus in the eggs are barely developed when 
the eggs are at a smaller size. Thus, making the 
duck fetus less duck like and more palatable. 

HOWEVER, when they sat the tray of four ginormous 
eggs in front of me... 

I knew I was in trouble. 

At this point, I should have 

shook everyone's hand and leisurely eat this instead. 

But, no. I stayed in the competition. 

The night before, a friend asked me why in the world was I willing to risk having a serious puke session 
for all of Brooklyn to see. 

"For mad props, yo!"

Let's get this party started.

"On your mark, get set..."

Ready and steady, stomach. Don't fail me now! 


As my teeth pierced through the grey webbed membrane that surrounded the yolk, I was hopeful because it tasted similar to the yolk of hard boil egg. 

HOWEVER, once I saw the furry baby duckling nestled peacefully on the hard cartilage, I knew it was game over for me.  

It didn't help that I had a human baby looming over me while I was chomping mercilessly away on another baby of a different species.  
From the corner of my eye, 
I felt the baby's stares stab right through my conscience.  

"Why are you eating a baby duck?  Do you not like babies? 
Will you try to eat me next?"

At this point, my stomach started to get woozy as my 
teeth begin to grind on Daffy's little cousin's beak.

Thinking I can mask the blatant WRONGNESS of the situation,
I begin to season my balut with salt. 

Exhausted from guilt and chewing, 
I knew there was no hope for me. 

The final nail in the coffin was when 
I stole a look at my competitors.

I saw fierce warriors, whose internal fire still burned bright.    Whereas, my fire sputtered and spewed, begging me to stop. 

It was time to throw in the towel.

I went in this competition hoping to at least scarf down a dozen.

I ended up eating three in five minutes. 

The winner ate 18

All in all, I do not have any regrets. 
At least now I know competitive eating is not my cup of tea, especially when it involves duck fetus.  My forte is eating copious amounts of food slowly at my own time discretion with a beautiful glass of fragrant wine.  

P.S. Don't expect any egg or duck recipes any time soon. 
I am still a touch traumatized. :) 

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