Gentle Readers, it really pays to pay attention. Lean in close, it’s time for a confession. Much like in magic tricks, it’s easy to be distracted when ordering in a new restaurant. For me, with my shellfish allergy, I often order “not shellfish” when trying a new place. Everything else falls to the side. And at Jeepney in New York, the service and atmosphere are so convivial, it’s easy to be swept along with the tide.
So I have to own this. I ordered a duck egg. I like duck, I like eggs. Great. It’s not shellfish. I ignored the key word, “fertilized.” Meet balut, a Filpino specialty, and a one of a kind experience. Not to say that Jeepney was fully defined by one thing, but eating a fertilized duck egg changes a person.
Special thanks to my friend and food challenger, @Lynxbat. Photo credit to him as well.
For the review of the overall meal, it was a great experience. We sat at communal tables on the patio in the back, and that alone was a great reminder of how food should be eaten–with other people and outside when possible. We ordered almost the entire menu, from lumpia (a personal addiction, if you are a fan of spring or egg rolls, imagine them smaller and crunchier) to beef marrow (luscious and umami on speed) to brilliant entrees.
I’ve eaten Filipino food before, but this was an experience. Much credit to the wait staff, who gave us the Big Night of the Philippines experience. By the time we were eating the balut, the entire restaurant was playing along. Every dish was well executed, and there’s not anything I wouldn’t recommend.
The bigger picture remains, if you go to try a new cuisine, dive in. Jeepney makes it accessible. There are fusion dishes that feel familiar (garlic rice or curried pork chop), along with the adventure items. Everything, right down to the HaloHalo inspired ice cream (beware of the gummi items if you’re not a fan), is both familiar and challenging if you’ve not eaten the cuisine.
That may have been my first and last balut (true confession, I lost my nerve after 3 bites and the dawning realization of what I had ordered), but it’s not my last trip to Jeepney. Highly recommended, plenty of well executed options (shellfish free even!). Go, and take a spirit of adventure with you.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way!
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Up on Sunday, Weekly Menus, Travel Edition!