What is Balut? It’s duck egg with a half formed duckling inside but it’s mostly yoke.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cash only sign at the door, a pair of balut (duck eggs), chalk board sign outside, dining area with a life size decal of a 70’s pinay bomba star on the wall, my favorite squid ink palabok, bicol express and fried tripe.
Jeepney has an ingenius way of making your dining experience fun and unique. Borrowing from the Japanese tradition of greeting you “Irashaimase” everytime you walk in a restaurant, the staff at Jeepney shout out Baluuuuut, everytime an order comes out of the kitchen.
How to properly eat a balut: (1) make a hole so you can drink the balut essence. (2) peel the balut and sprinkle a little salt. (3) enjoy the cholesterol enriched egg.
Why is it popular? The balut yoke has a rich velvety texture like foie gras.
Jeepney’s cuisine is filipino inspired and not authentic. In my opinion, it’s better than authentic filipino. Jeepney took what was the essence of each dish and brought the flavor to the next level. For the main dishes we ordered, palabok and bicol express, I couldn’t get enough of them.
Palabok is rice noodle topped with shrimp sauce. Most filipino restaurants in the US usually serve this too salty and the sauce, paste like. What Jeepney did was to infuse the rice noodles in squid ink to temper the amount of brine. The shrimp sauce was flavored with pork crackling bits so you get a crunch with every bite. If I didn’t live in Philadelphia, I’d have palabok here every week.
The bicol express is a pork dish with a mixture of spices. It had both heat from the chili and tartness from I’m not sure which ingredient. When paired with garlic rice, it was an addictive combination.
The cocktails were a bit watered down so order wine instead.
We also ordered the fried tripe to start. It was ok but I’ll choose something else next time.
Verdict: If you are not familiar with filipino cuisine, Jeepney is a good start to a journey of unique flavors.