I had intended to post about how to eat Hot Vit Lon (Vietnamese Fetal Duck Eggs), or balut to Filipinos, a while back but the photos were pretty bad. I usually only eat hot vit lon when my parents are in town because my youngest aunt buys it for them. The lighting at her house isn't the best. After visiting Hot Vit Lon Long An - Westminster (Little Saigon) last fall, even though I only bought sugarcane juice, obviously it would've been a good chance to do a how-to post, but again, bad photos.
My parents were back in town again recently to visit their first grandbaby. One night, because I hadn't come over for dinner, youngest aunt knocked on my door with a bag of Vietnamese dumplings and hot vit lon. Aha! Slightly better lighting at my house. Plus, I can set them up oh so prettily with my egg cups. Yes, I bought egg cups specifically for hot vit lon. Because I'm just that weird. Well, I guess you could use them for soft-boiled eggs, but these egg cups are reserved for hot vit lon in my house. :P
I've kinda circled around to the idea of Vietnamese fertilized duck eggs. I've always eaten them growing up. I used to enjoy eating the individual body parts of the duck. Gross! I know! Eating the little webbed feet and body and then head. Then I avoided it for a while because seeing the little fetal duck made me squeamish. And then, there was the time in college when my friend hadn't boiled them long enough so they were still raw and when he reheated it in the microwave they all exploded. Except for mine. Which unfortunately decided to explode IN MY FACE when I tapped the shell. Not that that scarred me or anything. Now, while I don't buy them myself, I will eat them if they happen to be available.
And so when youngest aunt gave me five hot vit lon, I ate one myself, shared one with Tony of SinoSoul, and gave the others to my brother. Afterward, he mistakenly texted me when he intended to send it to his wife. I think his exact word was, "Gross!" Haha. I know, it's not for everyone, but I think hot vit lon taste like dumplings. Very sweet liquid. Squishy insides.
It's OK. Afterward, I gave him some Ga Kho Gung (Vietnamese Braised Caramelized Chicken with Ginger) to remove the taste and imagery of the duck egg. Tony set up the photo on top. All nice and neatly in a row.
Who eats like that?
Not that I'm a food stylist or anything, but I prefer my food to be presented as how I would eat it.
Just imagine yourself sitting down to one egg, with a spoon to eat it with.
Or if you're setting up a shot to be shared, you'd show other people's place settings as well. A much better photo for my sensibilities. :P
And don't tell me those egg cups weren't worth buying?
OK, last chance folks. If you're squeamish, don't continue.
I mean it.
Vietnamese like our hot vit lon matured three weeks, about 19 to 21 days or so. Yes, you can see the little duckling's feathers and head and eyes and feet.
To cook hot vit lon, place the eggs in a pan and fill the pan with water until the eggs are covered. When the water boils, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for about half an hour. The eggs should be eaten hot.
Have a saucer of salt and ground black pepper ready. And a plate of rau ram (Vietnamese coriander).
If you don't have egg cups, you can use small tea cups, or makeshift the egg carton to hold each egg.
Gently tap around the shell so you can peel off just the top. My egg, unfortunately, didn't have much liquid. Otherwise, sip the sweet broth until it's gone.
Then sprinkle salt and ground black pepper on top.
Bite. Shove some Vietnamese coriander into your mouth.
Add some more salt and pepper. Spoon another chunk. Shove in some more rau ram.
Yes, the poor duckie is looking at you.
Some people eat the thick white albumen, but it's too rubbery for my taste.
I don't like calling hot vit lon balut for several reasons. They're not interchangeable to me. Sort of like keeping Cha Gio (Vietnamese Egg Rolls) separate from Lumpiang Prito (Filipino Fried Egg Rolls). Similar yes, but different fillings and different words. Vietnamese eat the fertilized duck eggs slightly different than Filipinos do. We also prefer them more mature so that one week difference is a difference in taste and texture. But mostly, to me, these aren't balut. They're hot vit lon.
You can find hot vit lon at most Asian grocery stores or at specialty stores such as Hot Vit Lon Long An - Westminster (Little Saigon). Or buy one already prepared at C & C Express - Westminster (Little Saigon).
Enjoy! Really! I mean it! :)
1 year ago today, panchi (Thai taro, coconut, and corn fritters) at Bhan Kanom Thai - Los Angeles (Thai Town).
2 years ago today, Dith Pran and the Killing Fields memorial in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
3 years ago today, popcorn chicken, butter toast, tea-flavored egg rolls, and freshly brewed tea at Tea Station - Alhambra.