Duck embryos: The beloved, unconventional breakfast of Hanoi

By VnExpress   March 20, 2017 | 09:00 am PT
Duck embryos: The beloved, unconventional breakfast of Hanoi
Fetal duck eggs served as breakfast at a street restaurant in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh
This breakfast dish is very different from your usual omelette or scrambled eggs.

In Hanoi, some boiled eggs are not for the faint of heart.

Trung vit lon, duck eggs with embryos inside, are a popular street delicacy across Vietnam. They can be boiled, stir-fried, tossed or poached in soup.

But while people in Hue and Ho Chi Minh City eat these eggs as their evening snack, many Hanoians believe the duck embryos are perfect for breakfast.

In a CNN tourism video, Tran Hanh An, the founder of a popular cooking school, takes viewers to one of the locals’ favorite breakfast restaurants on Au Co Street, where fetal duck eggs are served.

“It has the leg. It’s very a baby duck,” An says as she enjoys the egg with laksa leaves, ginger and garlic.

The unconventional breakfast could spook some people, but nutritionists have said it is good for your health.

One fetal duck egg provides 182,000 calories, 13.6 grams of protein, 12.4 grams of lipid, 82 miligrams of calcium, 212 grams of phosphor and 600 miligrams of cholesterol, studies have found. It also provides high amounts of beta carotene, vitamins and iron.

The energy from fetal duck egg, a hangover cure in the Philippines, where it is known as balut, is very good to reboot the body after a long sleep, doctors say.

As it is a high cholesterol food, the egg is not good for people with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure and for children.

And the foodies of Hanoi are also right about having embryo eggs in the morning: doctors say they offer the good amount of energy to start the day, but can be too heavy for a night stomach.

It should also be noted that locals prefer their fetal duck eggs "young," which mean the embryos are still in the very early days.

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