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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Philippine Cuisine - Balut

The Philippines' colorful history has led to the development of a unique cuisine, influenced by China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Spain, and America. With a broad variety of dishes ranging from kare-kare to fish balls, balut is probably the most infamous Filipino dish and definitely not one for the faint hearted (I guess I should say the faint stomached). Many foodies rank this at the top of the most disgusting dishes on the planet, but I personally enjoyed it. It looks rather harmless at first, but you can't always read an egg by its shell.
Balut is a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and served in the shell. Once the egg has been fertilized, it is incubated for a period of 17-21 days before being cooked in the same fashion as an ordinary hard-boiled egg. Balut is commonly sold by Filipino streetfood vendors from buckets full of sand (this is the retain the heat), but are also available in other Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia and Vietnam. The level of embryo development ranges from partial to high; it is not uncommon to be crunching bones and beak while choking on feathers.
The taste is a bit hard to explain. All I can say is it tasted just like I imagined: half egg, half duck with some crunch to it. Here's the best way to enjoy your balut:
  • Crack the top of the egg carefully, making sure not to spill the liquid.
  • Sip the broth from the egg (many believe this is the best part of Balut).
  • Carefully remove the rest of the shell and study in awe (seasoning may also be added; salt, vinegar, and/or chili are common).
  • Enjoy (everything can be eaten, except the egg white which is often rather cartilaginous)


  1. Eat with a Nouveau? Oh,no, of course - Cold Duck!

  2. "it is not uncommon to be crunching bones and beak while choking on feathers." -- you explained it all here. =)