Monkey Meat & Balut
By Bruce Lonardo
One night, my Filipina girlfriend Baby and I were heading back to her house from the Florida Club. We were strolling down Magsaysay Drive (the main strip) and I was a little hungry so we went over to a street vendor's barbecue pushcart. For 25 pesos, which back then was about three dollars in American money, we started chowing down on pork and chicken teriyaki sticks the little Filipino vendor was grilling on his pushcart. I clearly recognized one of the grossest P.I. delicacies, which was barbecued monkey meat but I didn't feel curious enough to eat Curious George!
When he enticed me to try different items on his cart, I indulged into what I thought was barbecued spareribs and they tasted pretty good. At least I thought that until the little Filipino guy enlightened me to what I was eating. I must have been eating with gusto because as I chowed down on that sparerib, the Filipino pushcart guy exclaimed with amazement, "Aaaahhh, Joe, you like dog meat?!?" Now I don't know for sure if this guy was serious or just pulling my leg but I believed him! I stopped dead in the middle of a chew, totally paralyzed with disgust. Needless to say, I ejected all unconsumed K-9 flesh from my mouth immediately! Aaaaaggghh!!! Baby was practically going into cardiac arrest, laughing hysterically! I learned a valuable lesson that day. No matter how good the cuisine is in the country that you’re visiting, always ask what the item is first and don't let hunger decide!
Unfortunately, there was another disgusting Philippine delicacy called Ballut. In my opinion, a person would have to be drunk, out of their mind, or both to have a strong enough stomach to indulge this. Balut is a fertilized duck egg which the Filipinos bury in the ground until the embryo inside turns rancid, black and rotting and it smells like a decomposing corpse. Sewage actually smells better! Then they harvest the egg from the ground, make a small hole in the crown of the egg, place the egg to their lips and suck out the nasty contents and chew it up and consume it. YUCK!