FFE Magazine

Filipino Icon: Balut

Photo from icekrambol

Often sold as street food, Balut is simply a fertilized duck embryo. In the Philippines, everyone considers this a tasty snack during drinking (alcohol or liquor) sessions with friends.

Vendors store the fertilized duck eggs in baskets to retain warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held to reveal the embryo inside. Followed by another eight days, the balut is then ready to be eaten. Vendors say that the perfect age for the egg to be eaten is 17 days old, wherein the chick is not yet mature to show its beak, feathers or claws, and while the bones are still undeveloped. However, this is still dependent on the vendor and customer’s preference.

The typical way to eat a balut is to crack and peel its shell, and drink the broth surrounding the embryo. This is typically one of the most delicious parts of the eggs as the broth is often tasty. Once all the soup has been sipped, all contents of the egg can be eaten except the white part, which can be too tough to chew. Filipinos like to add salt, vinegar or garlic to their Balut for that extra kick of flavour. Nowadays, many restaurants have also been using balut in their haute cuisine menus by serving them as appetizers, cooked adobo style entrees, soups or even used as fillings in pastries.

Another interesting trivia about the Balut is that it is also considered a popular aphrodisiac. Surely eating an unborn duck might seem strange to foreign visitors, but Filipinos believe this delicacy to be a good source of protein. Not only does it boost energy, but it also strengthens the knees especially when lovemaking calls for it.

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