Challenge: Eating Balut...
What is Balut?
A balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines. They are common, everyday food in some other countries in Southeast Asia, such as in Laos (where it is called Khai Luk), Cambodia (Pong tea khon in Cambodian), and Vietnam (Trứng vịt lộn or Hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese). Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. They are often served with beer. The Filipino and Malay word balut (balot) means "wrapped" – depending on pronunciation. (Thank you Wikipedia).So, now that we know what it is, the question still remains... why?
Balut has been the "shocking" topic of some television shows because of its taboo nature in some Western cultures. In two episodes of Survivor: Palau and two episodes of Survivor: China, separate challenges featured attempts to eat this delicacy. Similarly, Fear Factor frequently uses balut as a means of disgusting contestants. Recently, contestants of The Amazing Race Asia 2 had to eat 8 baluts as a team before receiving their next clue. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir featured balut eaten by several contestants after its introduction by a Filipino-American fighter Phillipe Nover. (Thanks again Wikipedia).
So, if eating a fertilized duck egg sounds like fun, continue reading and watching. If it doesn't sound like fun to do yourself, then maybe you'll enjoy watching others do it. If you would rather not even watch, you might want to stop reading this post!
Instructions on how to eat Balut:
First, tap the pointy tip of the egg’s shell and make an opening large enough only for the broth to trickle into your mouth.
Next, remove the shell and season the egg with salt. Lastly, decide whether to wolf down the balut in just two bites or less, so as not to visually encounter the fetus, or to nibble on the egg and eat it section by section, being extra cozy with the partially formed duck. Lesson over. Here goes...
Date: January 18, 2009 7:00:27 PM PST
Hey fam, how is it going? Things here are going great still. I am going to say "sorry" now for probably saying the same things over again from week to week because I don't know what I said last week and I don't have time to read it again. The weeks kind of just blend together here. I can't believe how fast time is already going. It seems like I arrived yesterday. I am actually a little nervous for transfers because my trainer will be leaving me and that will be a rough change. The good news is I will more than likely be staying here in Paglaum because I doubt that they will white wash and area two times in a row.
This week has been kind of busy. We had zone meeting on Tuesday, which was not too bad. It took the place of our district meeting, so our schedule was about the same except it went a lot longer. By the time we got back we had already missed some appointments and were running around like headless chickens trying to get to all the other ones on time. The next day was even worse because we had zone conference. We were really late getting back from that. It was fun though. I really like getting updated on everything going on in the mission. All the new missionaries got to bear their testimonies as well. That was fun. The food there was good to. I really love the food here. That will probably be one of the things I miss when I come home. I am, however, working on getting a recipe book with all of my favs. I can't wait to come home and have you try all the good food. I will have you cook it though, so it will taste good and you won't be disappointed in the filipino food.
Paglaum is still doing great. I think we are really gaining the trust of the members now. It was not that easy to do considering what happened with the whole death threat and all with the last elders. Actually its kind of ironic. The guy who gave the threat is my fav. We work with him a lot and I played basketball with him this morning. I don't know how you could not get along with this guy. Well I guess I have met the elder and I do know how you couldn't get along with him. Retention and reactivation is good. We are really working with two sisters who are return missionaries and very nice. They both had some problems with the people in the ward and don't want to go to church because of it. So we scheduled a FHE with one of them and invited the other. They just happened to be really good friends. We invited a lot of the members too, and asked them to write them notes telling them how much they love them and want them to return to church. It is on Friday and I am really excited to see how it goes. My companion said he will die a happy missionary if they go back. Oh yea, and I guess that's what they say here when you are going home. I don't know if I will pick that up because it's kind of weird.
Our new investigators are great. Oh, and our old ones as well. The family is still doing alright. We are starting to have some doubts that they will be able to reach their baptismal date or not. The adversary is really trying his best to stop it from happening. We are hearing some things from the members that they saw the mom smoking, but she said she still has not. Hopefully she is the one that is telling the truth. We also heard this morning that she just got scheduled to work every Sunday this month and next month. I really hope it works out because the kids are strong and are all really excited to be baptized. The couple that needs to be married really opened up to us this week. They told us the whole story of what the last missionaries were trying to do for them. I guess they were paying for everything and even set up an appointment to go and get the licsence with them. Yea, that really can't be in the rules that you can travel and get it with them. I guess they really can't afford it though. I think if they tried they could, so we talked to the bishop and he said he would interview them and if he feels they really can't pay for it then he will. Hopefully it will work out, because they are strong and are going to church each week. The high light of the week though was a young girl named sister Jean. She is seventeen and one of the member's house help. They just told us to come over and teach her. She is amazing and really listens to us. We taught the third lesson discussion on Saturday and she is scheduled to be baptized on the seventh. As long as we get it approved with her parents and the Mission President, it will go through. I am really excited. Our other ones are doing good and we are working hard each day to find more so we can build up the area book.
The weather here has been weird. It has been rainy and windy. It has constantly been about 70 degrees. The people here are freezing. It just prolongs me getting used to the real weather. I guess I might as well enjoy it while it lasts. I haven't seen anything to wierd as far as the culture goes. I am getting used to it fast. As for food this week, I did not get to eat dog. Somebody from my batch did and I am really jealous. I did, however, get to eat balut. It is a half formed duck still in the shell. I got the whole thing on tape so you will get to watch it when I send the next card home. It actually wasn't too bad. Oh, and I am trying to get better with pictures, but it's not working to well. I will continue to try and get better.
Well I better get going. Again, I love you all so much. Thanks for all of your support. I would not be here or be able to stay here if it weren't for each and every one of you. Thank You
My companion just reminded me of a funny experience. We were at this appointment with two girls. One was married and one was just her sister who was unmarried and pregnant. We would not have been able to teach them but we luckily had a ward missionary. First of all, the married one is really flirtatious. She always calls us guapo. Actually, it was funny. She asked if we were full American and we said that really doesn't exist. My companion said his ancestors were from Sweden and I said Britain. Then she looked at me and said that's why your are more guapo than he is. I got a pretty big kick out of that. I couldn't help but laugh.
Then while we were teaching I was listening and then I hear this little click like a camera. So I look over and the pregnant one is taking a picture of me with her phone. That would be a first. Then when we were on our way out she said she really hoped that her baby looked like me. So yea, that would be a first for me.
Anyway, I thought that was really funny and thought I would throw it in there. I guess they really love Americans here.