Dave’s Wicked Stomach Prevails Again

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I’m not a night person. It’s rare for me to go out late, and even more rare to enjoy myself if I do go out late. Which is why when Dave decided to go have a beer with some fellow travelers, I stayed back and read a book. Little did I know, Dave went out and collected information from locals regarding what local foods he should be looking for– and those locals gave him the name of a speciality to top the list of adventurous foods.

A note to readers: this session of Dave’s Wicked Stomach left me feeling woozy and nauseated. Dave, however, is feeling just fine. He is ‘feeling strong like a lion’, according to the press conference he gave immediately following the event.

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Behold, the Baby Egg. The Cambodian name is Pong Thea Kon. It sounds timid: a baby egg is simply a fertilized egg. No big deal, right? The shock factor sets in when you find out exactly how fertilized this egg is. Fetus might be a better explanation. Baby duck trapped in a shell gets the message across. This is a much adored dish here. Every local we talked to in Siem Reap had a specific preference on the preparation of the baby egg. We learned that Pong Thea Kon is typically served boiled, or deep fried. Furthermore, it is a standard ‘after dinner snack’ that can be purchased from food carts or simply made by mom (which seemed to be the more popular option).

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Our table ordered both boiled and fried baby eggs. The restaurant manager swiftly hopped on a motorbike to go pick them up- presumably from a cart around the corner that we failed to locate. The eggs arrived shortly after we finished our meal. With four people at the table, let it be known that only one person actually possessed the cajones to consume what we’d been served.

Baby eggs come whole: baby fur, placenta, beak, bones, and all. It is impossible to be ignorant to what you’re eating- it’s too easy to identify the physiology. Fried eggs are abundantly easier to ingest, as the boiled eggs (notably more popular with the locals) are far more realistic: giving the appearance of not really being cooked at all.

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According to Dave, a skillfully prepared baby egg is reminiscent of crispy grilled duck breast. He reports no crunch from bones, and no strange texture from guts or from feather. But the experience with Baby Egg has left Dave with a gap to fill: the search for the perfect combination of roast duck meat flavor, rich yolk, and crisp fried exterior. He reports that it is hard to leave the table without saving the best baby egg for last- “Much like not leaving the basketball court on a missed shot but rather a perfect swish.”.

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