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Rotten Duck Eggs & Day Old Chicken

Audio of Uncle J telling this tale

One of the things we all knew was coming at the end of the exercise was a feast with the Filipinos. This
undoubtedly meant they would serve that supreme of delicacies, balut. NOOOO!!. Alert!! Rotten Duck Eggs with
all duck fetus parts intact just pickled and rotten. Did I say ACCCKK!!. This was one of those things you knew
was coming so you had plenty of time to dread it. Part of the job in SF is to build rapport with members of the
units we train and this almost always involves a local delicacy that boggles the mind. In the Philippines it’s balut.
At the close of the exercise we bought a pig to roast and a ton of other chow and beer and the Filipinos were
bringing pork and shrimp adobo (mmmm), and of course a giant bucket of balut lurking in warm sand. The
surprise was a lovely dish called, day old chicken. As we were trying to figure out if that meant it was cooked
yesterday, out it came and there was no doubt what it meant. Two Filipino soldiers brought in a massive platter
mounded with day old chicken. As it turns out, day old is the chicken’s age when he became lunch. They looked
like perfectly crispy brown deep-fried bulgy-eyed little-beaked pokey-feeted chicken snacks. The whole little
chicken guy was dipped in batter and deep-fried and everything was cooked. Once you got past the idea that it
still looked like it might peep, it was really good. If you like fried chicken you would love these. It was just crisp,
crunchy and finger-lickin’ good.

The sad thing was that no matter how good the little chickens were that balut was sitting over there and there
was no escape. We were all fairly well lubricated as we had been drinking all afternoon when the fateful moment
arrived. They toted the bucket around digging the nasty eggs out with a little rake. I took mine and immediately
felt the mess inside wiggling around in the leathery skin. The sad thing was the yummy little chickens we just ate
made it all too easy to visualize the putrid, partly decomposed duck carcass inside the egg. The technique with
balut is to rip open one end of the egg, slurp the foul shot of liquid and then just crunch the rest of the parts
down. I almost want to yak just writing this. I made sure I had a clear path out of the mess tent, just in case and
took a final look around to make sure I had to do this. Some of the guys even liked them and were contentedly
slurping away, but most of us just looked like we had to take our medicine. Here goes, Rip, Slurp, Chomp Chew
quickly. Drink much beer, more beer another sip of beer, hey I hardly tasted that and enough people saw me
eat it, WOO HOO I’m through. It was truly nasty but I didn’t yak and now I’m done, YES!
As I recovered and grabbed another little, day-old, chicken guy and a beer there was a ruckus brewing between
SGM Pennington and the next ranking NCO Beaver Mcann. SGM Pennington was bellowing “God Damnit
Beaver I don’t care how many times you’ve been here, or how many times you’ve eaten this shit before, you are
going to eat some balut right now. Do you understand me?” “Fuck you Carey” was Beaver’s reply. He had
basically the same amount of crustiness as the SGM and could first name him. “Fuck you, ain’t no fuckin’ way I’
m eating that shit!” “God Damnit Master Sergeant Mcann you march your ass over to that god damn bucket you
take out one balut and you fucking well eat it” “Fuck you Carey” was still the answer. SGM Pennington started
across the tent to where Beaver was seated at a picnic table but before he got there Beaver jumped up and
drew his .45 and while waving it around over his head proclaimed “ I’ve got seven fuckin’ rounds that say I’m not
eatin’ one fuckin’ bite of that shit. You hear me seven fuckin’ rounds. Don’t even fuck with me ‘cuz I’m not
bullshittin’”. At this point we weren’t sure if we should laugh or duck because they were both pretty pissed off
and pretty pissed up. Fortunately for all it was laughter. Beaver never did eat that balut though.