Okay. This one may look way more gross than the fish heads but it is actually not as bad as it looks.
Balut is what it is called. It looks and feels like an ordinary hard boiled egg from the outside. But inside it is actually a fertilized duck egg.
I love this delicious Filipino delicacy. I remember growing up and getting excited for family evening walks at the boulevard. It was there that I had my first balut. The balut vendor walks around carrying a basket full of these amazing duck eggs and shouting "Baaaluuut." The first time I tried it, my dad told me not to look at it while eating it. Surprisingly, it turned out really flavorful.
What does balut taste like?
It tastes like a regular duck egg except it has more flavor to it and quite addicting. How old the egg you choose, will decide on the taste of what you eat. As for me, I always prefer the one that is 17 days old; when the chick doesn't have the beak, the bones and the feathers on it. Some would prefer 19 to 21 days old where the chick is mature enough to taste the bones which is tender when cooked, and the beak, and some hint of feathers on it.
What is good about balut?
Aside from the delicious taste, it is also an energizing food and an aphrodisiac to others. It is high in protein and other good nutrients.
How to eat balut?
You crack and peel a small opening enough to sip on the small end of the egg. Then you sip the broth that surrounded the embryo. You can then peel off the shell and put some chili and vinegar mix or just plain salt to season. Then enjoy the rest of the egg. I love all of it except for the egg white. I do not eat that part because they are especially hard depending on the age of the egg. It is best eaten warm. Though it is still good for a week if refrigerated, it is best when eaten immediately after being handed by the vendor. Some people like to eat it with beer. I like mine with Coke.
How is balut made?
These delicious fertilized duck eggs are produced by hand as they have been for ages. Balut-makers carefully select duck eggs that are not more than 5 days old and has a thicker shell without any cracks. It is then heated under the sun for 3 t 5 hours then incubated for 17 to 19 days in a special kind of incubator. Then comes the quality check in which they use a light bulb to see from outside if the egg has a duck embryo growing inside. It is then boiled for 20 to 30 minutes and is ready to eat or sell.
Although I haven't eaten balut for years now because I am no longer living in the Philippines, I am in the hunt for this love-it-or-hate-it forbidden food here in my local area. I heard that they have some at the Asian stores but it does not taste the same as the balut in the Philippines. I might just have to compromise or wait for when we can visit the Philippines again and have this exotic food.
If ever you happen to visit the Philippines, don't forget to try balut.