9 Must-Try Dishes in Vietnam
This is a delicacy known as hot vit lon or balut. It is a duck egg that has been fertilized and allowed to age somewhere between 18 and 21 days—just long enough for the yolk to develop into an embryo resembling a primordial creature with beak, eyes, body and feathers. The eggs are boiled for 20 minutes and served in the shell with a little salt, lime juice and basil. One might think the flavor would land somewhere between the creaminess of an egg and the gaminess of duck. Nothing could be further from the truth. The taste is very specific, I want to say hormonal, almost aquatic. The texture is like curdled sea urchin with chunks of hard-boiled egg white and a delicate stringiness. Is it hard to swallow? Yes. The salt helps. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I actually found myself enjoying the unapologetic flavor of duck embryo.