The World On A Plate


Eating Duck Embryo in Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Duck Embryo Cambodian Style

Psychologically this was probably one of the most challenging things to tackle, not least because it was around Easter time that I was faced with eating The Egg. In Cambodia duck embryo (or fetus) is a popular snack found at lots of street vendors. At least that’s the general word. When you’re actually trying to find one it’s a different story, and I cycled through several non-fetal eggs before asking the people at my hotel if they could give me firm directions. In true Cambodian style they not only found me an egg they had it collected, cooked and served up on a little plate in an egg cup, which made the whole experience a great deal more appetising.

Cutting into the egg itself reveals a disconcertingly brown streaked innard, and when you open the shell proper you get a glimpse of the little birdy’s forming neck and beck, picked out in dark grey-blue against the wider backdrop. This is a little upsetting.

The good news, however, is that the smell is quite appealing – like meaty egg yolk, and the taste is very much like it smells. Especially the brown exterior part. Digging into the neck/head/beak area was a slightly slimier texture, coupled with a crunch which could have been either bone or errant egg shell. If I was starving there would be plenty worse things than this to eat, and the flavour really was quite nice, but it is hard to get over the whole baby bird issue.

Duck embryos are found all over Phnom Penh, but you’re best off having a local direct you (draw a picture if necessary) to avoid the various other forms of egg. Special thanks to the Blue Lime Hotel in Phnom Penh for finding the egg for me.

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