When was the last time you ate balut? Do you really eat balut? How about eating a balut in a fancy restaurant? Do you even think that it is possible? Probably if you live in New York, Paris, or Sydney. In Cebu, the most unusual place that I tried balut was in Planet Grapes at the new wing of Ayala Center Cebu.
Planet Grapes is a restaurant that boasts of a solid wine selection to be paired with their food. This restaurant is hell-bent on converting Filipinos into wine drinkers that they do not offer any other alcoholic beverage except wines. Are you craving for beer? You better go somewhere else. The company's tagline is "Wine without the drama". When I was informed that they have balut on their menu, I was stunned. No drama? Yet, in their menu is a pretty interesting character and the balut is the protagonist of this blog post. I have not eaten balut for years, but I just had to order one.
Meet the balut's leading lady. Her name is Lhady Dizon. Quite an apt and interesting name for a leading lady, but I forgot to ask why her name had an extra h. The pretty girl with Alden-like dimples is the brand manager of Planet Grapes. She is from Bulacan and grew up eating balut. She demonstrated to me how to eat Balut at a fine-dining place.
Eating Balut a la Planet Grapes by Lhady Dizon (Haute Cuisine Style)
Act 1: The Cracking
At Planet Grapes, your balut is served in a nice-looking egg saucer with fine sea salt on the side and a teaspoon. Since it is an upscale restaurant, you have to use the teaspoon to crack the egg. Our protagonist has a soft exterior and you do not really have to use much strength to break it. After a few taps, you can see cracks. Make sure you tap it at the top portion.
Act 2: Peeling
Looking at Lhady, I was so impressed with her finesse on peeling the shell of the balut. She was not kidding about eating balut regularly since childhood. You have to be careful that the hole you make is not too big or else the delicious broth will be spilled.
Act 3: Salt
Salt is probably the best seasoning for any kind of egg. It is also the preferred condiment for most balut eaters. Some also like vinegar, chili, garlic, and onions with it. In Lhady's case, she sprinkled her egg with salt.