Balut (pronounced ‘BAH-Loot’) or boiled duck-embryo egg is a divisive food item in the list of Filipino culinary ‘delights,’ that the mere mention of ‘balut’ can either elicit a pleasurable nod, a bemused grin or repulsion even among Filipinos.
Balut fans swear that this egg can be the most tasty especially when eaten warm, but to an outsider it takes a strong stomach to even think about eating this egg (including this blogger!). Here’s a short description to the uninitiated: the duck embryo, already some weeks old when cooked, is already formed and one sees the vague shapes of wings, bits of feather and the head of the undeveloped chick– all of these enveloped in the jelly-like soup of the egg white .
Despite the yucky prospect of swallowing an embryo, some Filipinos consider balut as an aphrodisiac. Thus, there are mobile or roaming vendors selling balut at night, and one can hear them howling ‘Balut!,’ prowling neighborhoods even on late nights. A trick to eat balut is to consume them in the dark, sparing you of the sight of the cooked fetus.
With Filipinos, perhaps, equally divided on the enjoyment and nutritional benefits of balut, the egg remains popular to this day, a freaky Pinoy snack that is at once repulsive and fascinating.
Mabuhay ang balut!