If you’re hankering for something strange, try balut. The Filipino delicacy is a boiled duck fetus, still swimming in its embryonic fluid.
We hear it goes great with a cold beer. Last Saturday in New York, the restaurants Maharlika and Jeepney held the second annual balut eating contest at the Hester Street Fair. Last year’s champion, Wayne “Wayney Wonder” Algenio defended his title.
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The first time around, he ate an impressive 18 balut in five minutes, which included shelling the eggs. This year, he bested himself and ate 27 balut. We spoke to the winner, juices still dripping down his shirt and a big smile on his face.
How did you hear about this contest?
I competed in last year’s contest, and they contacted me to compete again this year.
Did you like balut before you entered this?
Well, last year was the first time I ate balut. It’s good, but it’s not something I’ll eat outside of a contest. ... This is the second time I’ve eaten it.
What does it taste like?
Balut takes like a soupy boiled egg with broth. It’s good.
Does the fact that it’s a duck fetus gross you out?
It does a little. (Laughs)
Do you have a technique for finishing 27 in five minutes?
I do have a technique that I figured out last year, but I can’t let that secret out.
Did you train before this?
No. I mean, I train for food contests. I didn’t specifically train for balut. I’ve done hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, tacos, and that’s about it. I’ve won a few. I won the San Gennaro Pizza Festival. I won a hamburger recently. Sixteen hamburgers in five minutes. I win a few, but I don’t win them all. They’re fun.
Was this one special for you because you’re Filipino?
This one was very special for me because it was the first time I was defending a championship.
Are you sick of balut until next year?