The Venerable Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg) and How to Eat It!

The Venerable Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg) and How to Eat It!

It wouldn’t be right to call ourselves the Balut Crew without featuring an article on how to eat balut, right? Balut is essentially fertilized duck or chicken egg, best enjoyed when the embryo has developed to the point where it is about 3 days from hatching. Balut is easy to produce and is a form of cheap and readily available protein packed morsel. While Balut is said to have originated from China, it has become an important staple protein in all South East Asian countries. The Philippines has adopted the balut as a national past time snack, much like how Americans would enjoy a hot dog or hamburger every now and then. If you have never had balut before and are curious to what it taste like, think of it as concentrated poultry morsel in concentrated poultry broth. The word balut means “wrap around” in Tagalog, which refers to the egg yolk that wraps around the embryo.

A balut is enjoyed whole, embryo with beak, feather, claws, yolk and broth. Balut eggs can be enjoyed neat. However, a pinch of salt and a simple dollop of vinegar (Filipino style) or a citric dipping sauce consisting of lime juice, ground black and white pepper (Chinese style) can be added to enhance the flavor.

Admittedly, this dish is not for everyone. But if you can muster your stomach and get past the thought of devouring an unborn duck (or chicken) embryo to give balut a try, follow our tips below on how we’ve enjoyed balut eggs since we were six years old! While balut eggs are generally enjoyed as appetizers and snacks, or pulutan in the Philippines, scarfing down three eggs will sufficiently fill you up – no kidding! Best enjoyed with a cold one. Balut eggs are usually available at your neighborhood Asian supermarket near the meat section for as low as $0.89 cents each.

How to eat balut

Grab a pot and place the balut eggs in it. Fill the pot with cold water until the water level just slightly covers the balut eggs.

How to eat balut - boil the eggs

Boil over high heat then lower the heat to medium. Cover pot and let boil for 20 minutes.

While the water is boiling, prepare the condiment sauce. Squeeze the juice of one lime, then mix in equal parts fresh coarsely ground pepper, ground white pepper and salt – depending on your taste preference. Mix thoroughly to combine.

How to eat balut - prepare the dipping sauce

After 20 minutes have passed, remove cover from pot and allow the egg to cool off for 15 minutes. Do not drain the water from the pot – you want to enjoy the balut eggs warm.

Crack the bulbous, not pointy, end of the egg with a spoon. You should reveal an air pocket and be able to peel off the shell from the top.

How to eat balut - crack the egg open!

Puncture the membrane covering the broth with the handle end of a spoon, then add the condiment sauce into the broth. Slurp the broth dry from the egg.

Continue peeling away the rest of the shell until you are holding the embryo and yolk. Dip the embryo into the condiment sauce (or sprinkle with salt and vinegar) and enjoy in two big bites!

And that folks, is how one would enjoy a balut egg!


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