Last week we went to stay at my aunt's "farm house" in Setbho to spend a day outside the dust, smog, and noise of Phnom Penh. Wherever we are, a family gathering always means rather continuous eating. It's been overwhelming. It's hard to get hungry when I'm often sweating just sitting around. The lucky part is that most meals consist of fish and rice, which means I still feel relatively healthy.
After the main part of lunch was over, and after everyone recovered a bit from the food coma, pbong tdia kohn time was announced. Also known as balut. This isn't a typical occurrence in the US, where we've become much more faint of heart, and I would usually shake my head and scamper off, but I decided to go for it this time. My 8-year-old cousin was rumored to be able to eat six or seven, which added to my motivation.
I'd always seen pbong tdia kohn eaten in the shell, but this time I saw some relatives cracking it into a bowl. Since I managed to open the egg at the wrong end (meaning the larger end, which leaves space to tuck in seasonings), I had to go this route:
Alas, once again, I failed to bring myself to try eating the little partially-formed chick inside the egg. I told this to a relative, and she gave me these tips for next time:
- Make the hole just barely big enough.
- Break up the egg inside with the handle of the spoon after adding the seasonings.
- DON'T LOOK AT IT when eating.