Doja Cat has sparked a backlash among listeners with her track “Balut,” which is a nod to a popular Filipino street food.
“I named the song ‘Balut’ because it signifies a bird that’s being eaten alive,” Doja wrote in an Instagram Story following her release of the track on September 15.
Doja Cat reveals on Instagram Live that she tried balut for the first time. pic.twitter.com/JkvsCQ7Muo— Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) September 18, 2023
“Balut was good. It reminded me of liver. It was almost like you can tell that it’s a small [serving] that is high [in] fat. I can taste the vitamins in it. You just know that [it is] good for you immediately,” she explained.
Filipinos were quick to express their reactions, ranging from impressed to slightly offended. While Doja amazed some with the metaphor she used, many found the use of the dish culturally offensive.
Filipino commentators also stressed that contrary to the rapper’s explanation of the song title, balut is not eaten alive. It involves boiling or steaming a fertilized duck egg that is between 14 and 21 days old.
“Eaten alive? Who eats balut alive? Girl, you don’t need to shame my culture if you don’t understand it,” said a user on X.
With Doja’s thoughtful yet unexpected metaphor for the famous Filipino dish, should Filipinos be offended?
That’s a matter still up for debate, as balut can be a divisive dish. Quite frankly, a substantial part of the population would go crazy over their fondness for the street food. However, interestingly, the same amount would curl and vomit even just at the idea of it.
Consequently, travel and food shows often feature balut in places outside of Southeast Asia, and some people consider it an unusual or bizarre food.mWhy is this so?
What is balut in the Philippines?
Balut is known as one of the earliest exotic food delicacies of the country which was inspired by Chinese culture, dating back to almost 200 years ago. Though when one sees balut for the first time, the reaction may not always be pleasant. Without the understanding of the culture in which it was brought up, one would find it easy to say, “no, thank you.”
Needless to say, balut is a street food widely consumed in the Philippines, but is also popular in places like Vietnam, Thailand, China, Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries. To simply put, balut is a fertilized duck egg. An incubator has kept the duck egg at approximately 104 degrees for a specific period of time. The fertilization process for balut ranges from 16-20 days.
Furthermore, people prepare balut similarly to a hard-boiled egg, except they do not cool it before serving. People place the fertilized duck egg in boiling water for 20-30 minutes and eat it as soon as it reaches the right consistency instead.
How to eat balut
While holding the egg in one hand you’ll give the shell a few hard hits until it cracks open. Once cracked, the top of the shell is removed and the broth that fills the egg is sipped. This reveals two separate parts of the egg. On one side you’ll see the yolk and on the other the duck. The whole process takes about a minute for someone who seemingly has done this many times before. However, we’re willing to bet it may take a bit longer for those trying it for the first time.
All the parts of balut that come after cracking the shell create different flavors, which is not surprising. Meanwhile, when it comes to the texture of the actual duck some say the meat is tender, dissolving in your mouth as it goes down; others beg to differ.
While Doja’ Cat’s ‘s explanation of the dish might not have gone down well, her Filipino fans might find her reaction to tasting the food itself somewhat more palatable.
However it may have come off, we could at least conclude that, indeed, balut is for the international scene in all its bizarre and unusual glory.