So what is a Balut? Is it alive? Is it a chicken? a duck? Well, it is a duck (in some cases it can be a chicken, but rarely). Technically it is a duck/chicken embryo that is incubated for about 14-21 days, an unhatched egg. ( think you get it, let that sit for a moment.) A fertilized unhatched duck egg ready to be eaten. I know what you are thinking. How gross! How can someone want to eat an unhatched duck embryo? Well growing up Filipino it was quite normal in our house, a Sunday tradition, and something to look forward to. Perception is everything, to me it was food and that’s it.
Nowadays, You see balut challenges, shoot you even see it on Fear Factor with people ready to puke before they even eat it. Then there’s me, wondering why people find this food to be so grotesque. It’s food, growing up my parents would cook it and I would just crack it open. It would never go to waste, after cracking it open I would be there with a salt shaker in hand!
Balut is usually sold as street food in the Philippines (always something to look forward to when visiting.) I love me some good street food! I think the authenticity of traditional foods really makes the dish or delicacy. In this case a delicacy. Be sure to eat these ducks carefully. You are for sure going to encounter a beak, feather, etc of some sort. SO GET READY!
Other countries such as Vietnam, Japan, and Cambodia also sell Balut! It’s everywhere so I suggest you try it 🙂
Balut (How to Cook)
Most Filipino stores or Asian markets generally sell the Balut cooked. Balut needs to be boiled roughly 20-30 minutes before serving and eaten the same day. You can generally store balut for about a week once cooked. Like most eggs timing dictates how your balut egg will turn out. The liquid in the Balut ultimately becomes the broth. It’s a tasty broth! (Slowly clean your barf, it’s not that bad.) Get it together!
The incubation period generally depends on the town. The length of incubation will determine how developed the balut is. The less developed the more features will show (beak, feathers, etc). Once the egg is fully incubated and you crack it open, you will see the juices and the embryo floating at the top. It’s now game time! Tuck that napkin in your shirt and don’t forget to wash your hands. Oh, and grab some napkins it’s going to get messy.
What Does Balut Taste Like?
That is a great question. I mean the only real way to find out is to eat it. Balut tastes like an egg, to be honest, lol just a little tastier. I would not say its an acquired taste but if you are someone who is not adventurous you may not enjoy this tasty treat. The yolk seems to be the tastiest out of the duck embryo, some describe the taste as a hard-boiled egg with a bit of a different texture. You are going to have to go through some feathers and other duck body parts in order to get to the yolk, happy peeling! It’s well worth it, trust me!.
If you like broth then you will definitely like the amniotic fluid generally classified as the soup of the balut (add salt as needed and add vinegar if you wish). It’s warm with some gooey goodness, enjoy! If salt and vinegar are not enough you can always add lemon, pepper, chilli paste or a seasoning of your choice! Shoot make it an omelet at this point :).
As stated above Balut is not exclusive to the Philippines, each country obviously markets and sells it differently. While the cooking method is the same, the serving differs. It has been said that balut was introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese right around the late 1800s. Since then it has been such a strong part of the Filipino culture and quite the fascinating subject to discuss amongst peers. You can find balut in the Philippines in many street markets and even the most expensive restaurants, a true tourist attraction for sure. Still debating wether or not you’d like to try it?
OK, we already know balut can be eaten as is, right out of the shell. But what other ways can Balut be served? Kawalingpinoy.com has made a delicious balut variation! Click here to see more! Sizzling Balut looks awesome and delicious! Although not a traditional recipe it’s yummy for sure!
Other countries have gone as far as putting balut in soups, stews, and other non-traditional dishes to spice up the meal. So, when you are lacking ideas of what to eat for dinner make sure to balut to that list.
So now you know the history of balut, the cooking method, where it came from, what it tastes like. What to do next? TRY IT OUT! Or you can WATCH ME EAT IT HERE ON YOUTUBE (FULL VIDEO)!
No seriously, this is something a lot of people can’t stomach. I have seen people cringe just talking about it. I encourage you to open up your mind to new things. Although this is not a so-called fitness article, this is to show that fitness-minded people can be normal too. LIFE is not always about counting calories, measuring food, tracking macros, lifting, working out for hours a day, the newest supplements, etc. LIFE is about balance, the more obsessed you get the more you take away from other important things in your life. Until then LIVE LIFE, ENJOY and BE HAPPY!
For more information on anything fitness related, life, balance, and more! Contact Jay for more info!