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Why has Doja Cat’s new song ‘Balut’ landed her in hot water with some Filipino listeners?

By Kathleen Magramo, CNN

(CNN) — American rapper Doja Cat has landed in hot water with listeners in the Philippines after naming her latest single after a Filipino street food.

The rapper said she had named her track “Balut,” released on September 15, after the popular dish of the same name – but her explanation for doing so left many Filipino listeners scratching their heads.

“I named the song ‘Balut’ because it signifies a bird that’s being eaten alive,” she wrote in an Instagram Story on Sunday.

“It’s a metaphor for Twitter stans (obsessive fans) and the death of Twitter toxicity. The beginning of ‘X’ and the end of ‘tweets.’”

But few Filipino commentators seemed impressed with the metaphor, with many correcting her that the dish involves boiling or steaming a fertilized duck egg that is between 14 and 21 days old, not a live bird.

Some even saw her explanation as culturally offensive.

“Eaten alive? Who eats balut alive? Girl, you don’t need to shame my culture if you don’t understand it,” said a user on X.

Another tweet correcting the description of balut, which garnered nearly 100,000 likes and plenty of supportive comments in Tagalog and English, used a crying emoji and read: “Mind you a balut is a fertilized duck egg”.

CNN has reached out to Doja Cat’s record label RCA Records.

Balut can be a divisive dish.

Outside of Southeast Asia, it often features on travel and food shows where it is sometimes held up as a unusual or bizarre food likely to test those with Western palates.

But such coverage can come across as offensive to people in the Philippines, where it has a status approaching a national delicacy.

While Doja Cat’s explanation of the dish might not have gone down well, her Filipino fans might find her reaction to tasting the food itself somewhat more palatable.

“Balut was good. It reminded me of liver. It was almost like you can tell that it’s a small [serving] that is high [in] fat. I can taste the vitamins in it. You just know that [it is] good for you immediately,” she recounted on Instagram Live after posting her explanation of the song title.

“I liked it. [But] I don’t think I had it properly. It was still warm,” she added.

The song is among the tracks on Doja Cat’s fourth studio album “Scarlet” to be released on Friday, September 22.

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