BALUT: Filipino duck egg


duck egg with a developed embryo

Sometimes, the embryo past 17 days of incubation is so developed you can feel the feathers and the crunch of its bones in your mouth.

Balut is a native delicacy in the Philippines. It is considered a health food. Street vendors roam at night with their egg-filled baskets as they shout Balut, penoy, balut… 

Balut with salt, vinegar

You often can buy small bags of vinegar along with the eggs.

The Vietnamese also regularly eat the same sort of fertilized duck eggs, which they call hot vit lon.

magbabalut / mambabalut
people who “do” balut 
can be used to refer to both producers and vendors

Balut, pampatigas ng tuhod.
Balut strengthens the knees.

How to Eat Balut

When you buy balut, make sure that it’s cooked. Anyway, they’re all sold already cooked and ready to eat by the vendor with the basket out in the street. If perchance you get a few at a “Filipino” store overseas that sells them uncooked, you may have to gently boil them for at least 20 minutes.

The Vietnamese say to use a spoon to tap on one end of the egg to break the shell. Filipinos are like, huh? You lightly tap one end of the egg on a flat surface, like a plate or a table, or even a wall. After the shell is cracked, peel off a few pieces until there is a hole big enough (but not too big) for you to cleanly drink the liquid out. Tilt your head back as you do this.

Got all the juice out? Now peel off more eggshell until the yolk and/or the chick is exposed. From here on out, it’s common sense. Eat from out of the shell. No, don’t use a spoon. There are generally three items you’ll be able to discern. The yolk is like that of a regular hardboiled chicken egg. There is a white rock-like piece of hardness that a few people don’t bother eating. Then there’s the duck fetus.

You can sprinkle on some salt… and even dip the solid components in vinegar with a few chilies in it. That’s too complicated though. The Vietnamese even add some sort of fancy herb. Filipinos can enjoy as is.

slang for a zero score

Balut ang nakuha ko sa iksam.
I got a zero on the exam.

Other related Tagalog words: itlog (egg), pato (duck)

There is another word balot which means to wrap.

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