Balut is the sterilized egg of a duck, or chicken that is famously eaten in the Philippines. It may regularly make the list of most disgusting foods on the planet, but I freaking love the stuff! It was now time for me to embrace balut in Siem Reap.
To read more about balut click here.
To read more about disgusting foods click here.
No whilst balut is most famous was a Filipino dish it is believed to have originated in China. I have had it once in China in the weird North Korean border city of Linjiang, here it was served with hot Chinese sauce!
To read more about Linjiang click here.
Nowadays it is even throughout South-East Asia (I have also tried it in Vietnam), but each have their own take on how it should be eaten. In the Philippines its all about eating with your hands, pouring salt and vinegar in, drinking the juice and then eating said fetus! Yum
What is balut called in Cambodia?
Balut is called pong tia koon in Cambodia, but that is far from where the differences end, because how you eat pong tia koon/balut in Cambodia is also very different.
How to eat balut/pong tia koon in Cambodia
Unlike its street food cousin in the Philippines you will receive pong tia koon as an almost plated dish. The accompaniments are a small plate filled with pepper, and some green leaves my Khmer friend referred to as “baby egg leaves”. Every meal in Cambodia comes with weird leaves of some description!
You then add lime to the pepper/salt mix until you create a liquid. You crack open the empty side of the egg and then add your pepper lime type mix and much like the Philippines drink the juice. Unlike in the Philippines though you then eat it with a s small spoon, which is all rather civilized in my book!
Pong tia koon vs Balut
I am a purest, so in my mind you cannot beat Filipino balut, but when we were visiting the floating village I did manage to knock back three pong tia koon, so yeah you could say that I do like it.
To read more about the floating village click here.
Overall though a bog thumbs up for Cambodian balut!