Balut, partly-developed eggs


Unopened balut

Here’s a good one… balut.

Partly-developed duck or chicken eggs, commonly eaten in the Philippines. They can also be found in Cambodia, Vietnam, and even in some parts of Thailand. These ones that I tasted were actually found in Hong Kong, but at a Filipino street restaurant.

Anyway, on to the eggs. I think the pictures below are pretty self explanatory but I’ll provide a little more info. The age of the balut makes a huge difference. the ones here are aged about 17 days. Long enough that the embryo is clearly recognizable, but there is not much hard or feathery stuff. In Vietnam they prefer balut aged up to 21 days which means that when you eat it you definitely get crunchy beaks, bones, and feathers. These older eggs are often cooked in soups.

Because this was a younger balut, the embryo ended up being soft and slimy. Basically, I just slid it down my throat like a shot of tequila. Not too bad, but a little off-putting. And that’s the embryo I’m talking about. The ‘white,’ which is now filled with visible veins, is also edible although much less appetizing in my opinion. Imagine a hard and dry cheese for the texture, but with the taste of egg.

Don’t believe me? Check out wikipedia. And if you think all my talk of embryos is gross, it’s basically the same as a normal egg-balut less than 9 days old is usually indistinguishable from a standard hard-boiled egg. Added bonus: they are considered an aphrodisiac!


Opening balut


Opening the balut


Balut - embryo separated from the white


Closeup of the egg white of balut


Balut - the embryo


Closeup of the emrbyo of balut

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