My colleagues in Vietnam, they know I love Vietnamese food. They also know, I’m always into trying new things and love to learn about typical Vietnamese dishes, customs and traditions. So when they asked me if I like eggs and if I would like to try some Vietnamese delicacy, I knew where this was heading. Of course I was a bit scared; we are talking about eating a nearly developed duck embryo here! But my colleagues assured me that it wouldn’t be recognizable with feathers and so on.
So there we went. Ending up on children’s size plastic chairs in a typical Vietnamese street food restaurant. The eggs were served with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, plus ground pepper and Vietnamese mint leaves. I decided to observe my colleagues first. To see what it looks like, how it should be eaten and.. I have to admit, to gather the guts to actually eat it myself. When I received further instructions on how to eat the egg, I decided I should give it a try. It seems my colleagues love it, ‘and Hey, they are still alive, aren’t they?’
The first step is to take your spoon and hit the top of the egg to crack the shell. After that, you have to make a hole in the membrane underneath and drink the juice first. This part was easy. It’s like drinking hot soup with a salty taste, like a hard-boiled egg. Actually it tasted very good. But then came the hardest part. After you drink the juice you have to make the hole bigger, so you can spoon out the insides. Right. Now they got me scared again, as the embryo looks pretty developed to me. My colleagues advised me not to eat the hard white albumen, as this part is tough to eat.
To reduce the risk I would recognize any intact body parts, I decided to spoon out small pieces only. Surprisingly, if you don’t think about the texture of what you are eating, the egg itself tasted really good. It just tasted like a regular hard-boiled egg! After the first one, I even had 2 more.
In Vietnam, the eggs are sold at street vendors like hotdogs in NYC. In Ho Chi Minh City the egg is eaten round the clock. Some people prefer ducks that are about 15-17 days old, like mine, because the duck has not fully developed so its beak, feathers, claws, and bones are unrecognizable. Others prefer mature embryos (around 19-21 days), so that they can taste the tenderness of the bones, see the feathers, and identify the duck.
Lucky they served me the younger ones ;). Still, I’m very proud I had the guts to try them and I would recommend everyone to experience this delicious snack yourself!