Foreigners consider balut as a Filipino exotic egg food. But for us, Pinoys, it is just a common street food favorite. One might even say, if you don’t eat balut, you’re no Filipino.
What is Balut, Why it is called Balut?
Balut is a 16-21 day old fertilized duck egg sold by street vendors usually as night time bites. Inside the egg you will find the yolk, egg white and the part that gives the thrill, the developing embryo. Many people do not have the stomach for the sight of this delicacy. Well, we cannot blame them when the semi-developed beak and feathers are exposed. But appearance aside, balut has its own unique yum!
How is it made?
The duck egg goes through a process of incubation and hard boiling. Using warm rice husks, the fertilized duck egg is incubated long enough for the fetus to form. This takes around 2-3 weeks. The ideal incubation is 17 days. The egg is then hard boiled the same with a regular chicken egg. It is then sold using baskets or Styrofoam with a warm cloth inside to keep the balut warm.
Is Balut safe and healthy?
Balut is often avoided because of its high cholesterol value. One egg contains 619mg of cholesterol. However, it is more nutritious than claimed. Being an egg, it is a healthy source of protein. In fact, it is an energy booster commonly eaten by overtime and night shift workers. Other than that, one balut has 2mg of iron and 116mg of calcium. It is good for blood circulation and skeletal health when taken in moderation.
Is it also safe for pregnant women?
Yes, it is safe. Raw eggs are not recommended to pregnant women. Since balut is incubated and cooked hard boiled, it is definitely harmless! Balut is also believed as a restorative and curative food for both pregnant women and those who just gave birth. It may have something to do with its energy boosting quality.
How to choose a good Balut?
You never see how the inside is. So you have to rely on your senses in picking a good egg. Hold the balut. The heavier it is, the fresher. Second, shake it near your ear. You should not hear motion inside. Lastly, inspect the shell. It must be thick and with no visible crack.
How to eat Balut like Pinoys?
Find a hard surface and crack open the shell on the narrow part of the egg. Peel a small hole. Sip the broth and be careful not to spill. You can also add a pinch of salt to make the broth tastier. Then peel the shell as you eat. Add salt or vinegar with chili on the yolk at your option. Same goes to the white part. And for the finale, go for the embryo!
How does it taste?
The yolk is quite creamy and chalky but moist because of the broth. The white part is a little hard and chewy. Some discard this part because of the texture. The star of the show, the embryo is tender and a little slimy. If you try to eat it without looking, it is similar to eating soft chicken. Enjoy it while warm!
What is Penoy, Why it is called Penoy?
Penoy is for starters or those who do not have the appetite for the semi-developed embryo. It is basically a failed balut. It has little to no embryo. For those who like yolk better, this is your best option!