2007
07.22

So, first, the good news. I got married last week.

There really isn’t bad news at the moment, just a gross story.

My bride is Filipino. Thanks to her, I know a little bit about Filipino culture, but not a ton. This is because she doesn’t know a whole lot about it either. I give her credit – she knows more about her culture than I know what it means to be Irish.

Anyhow, two of her aunts (who are actually cousins, but they are her mom’s age so she always had to call them Auntie) are in town and they listened to my family (also in town) talk about their experiences with Filipino food. My father mentioned that, while he was active in the Vietnam war as a pilot, he had eaten Balut.

Now, Balut, for the uninitiated, is fetal chicken. Basically, you take an egg with a partially formed chick, cook it, salt it and eat it. It is basically the vilest looking food I have ever seen. It is eaten as a snack food in the Philippines and is actually very popular.

My father, like the other member of his air force squadron, only ate it after about ten beers.

Back to the aunties. This amuses them so they decide they are going to make me eat balut. In fact, they are going to make me and my two new brother-in-laws eat balut.

One of my brother-in-laws is a former Army Ranger. Tough. As. Nails. Tougher. He could use his hands to pound in nails. He can’t be crucified because the nails would just bend as they tried to get them into his palms. He is Chinese and married to my wife’s sister.

My other brother-in-law is my wife’s brother – one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Hella-nice, too. He’s never eaten balut, though.

Anyhow, I drive to the restaurant where I’m meeting them quite unaware of the grisly feast that awaits me. When I get there, the Ranger says “The ladies got a surprise for you.”

“A surprise?”

“Yeah, I already had my surprise…”

The aunties come out, giddy with excitement about the surprise. We head back to my brother and sister-in-law’s place and they present me with the egg.

“It’s balut.”

I crack the shell open with a spoon, saying, “Come out, bird! Come out, bird!”

I can’t look at it, but drink the water from the shell (which is considered a treat) and salt the revolting thing and eat it in two bites repeating “hard boiled egg” to myself.

This is good, because it turns out that it tastes like a hard boiled egg. You don’t feel bones crunching or beaks or get feathers caught in your teeth. Well, I didn’t.

I wash it down and then they show me pictures of what I ate. That almost makes me sick, but, like I said, it just tasted like egg, so I can handle.

My wife’s brother now has to eat it, since the Ranger and the new husband just ate it. He has a much harder time getting it down – in fact, he gags twice.

He compares the flavor to fart.

His grandmother says, “Fart? No. Shit.”

She is awesome.

Anyhow, the three of us are now “brothers in balut,” which I guess is something.

  1. I went ahead and decided to check out pictures of this Balut you are talking about at Wiki and… wow. I wouldn’t be able to eat that.

  2. I am a Filipino. I do not eat balut also, just could not take it. When asked to eat, I just pretend that I ate it.

    To avoid this situation, I just go for Penoy.

  3. For what its worth, congratulations.

  4. I’m Filipino but I’ve never had to try balut, thank God, since my mom refuses to buy it, haha. I think it’s actually duck fetus, not chicken? Congrats on being married though and being a brother in balut :P