Read almost any gross food blog and about will almost inevitably be on there, but why is it considered so disgusting, what does it actually taste like and how do you eat balut? This is the Street Food Guy guide.
What the balut
Balut food is a fertilized duck, or chicken egg embryo that is boiled, or steamed and typically sold as street food. The food is most famous in the Philippines, but can also be gotten in Cambodia, Vietnam and China where it is believe dot have originated – we will cover these countries in a later article.
It is though most famous in the Philippines with balut, or blot being a Tagalog word and the food being found on pretty much every street corner within this large country.
It is believed to have first started in China, before Chinese seaman brought the delicacy south. I have had some great balut in Lijiang, which is on the borderlands of North Korea and China.
Typically the egg is between 14-21 “weeks old”, before it is cooked and eaten.
How do you eat balut in the Philippines?
First you go find yourself a vendor, with them being everywhere there is street food, or indeed bars, with this snack almost being the Filipino drunk food of choice – rather like a doner kebab.
You then lay down 25 peso, or about 50 cents before being handed the egg. Generally the eggs are kept on blanket on a food cart and kept very hot, so hot that when you take it you need to pass it hand top hand until it cools down. You then take the follow “head side” of the egg and crack it open.
Next is time for your balut condiments, first you add salt and then vinegar into the already existing liquid and you literally shoot the balut juice. This is a lot better than it sounds, although also be warned that some balut vinegar is quite literally spicy as hell.
After this you rip open the shell a bit more and eat the fetus in one or two bites and throw away the shell!
You can see me eating balut outside Selah Garden Hotel. Check out my TikTok here.
What does balut taste like?
Ever wondered what came first, the chicken or the egg? Well this is quite literally a mixture of the two. Yes it does taste like an egg, but not also, as it has meaty gam like qualities, with there also being hints of feathers and beak as part of the snack.
I realize I am not selling balut well, but if you like chicken, eggs and gamey meat in general then you have a fighting chance of enjoying balut. And apparently it is also really good for you being not only full of nutrients, but also being “good for the man”, hence why they sell it outside the girls bars of Angeles City and the like…..
Balut around the world!
OK, so the common misconception and one I kind of perpetuated is that balut is also popular in other parts of the world such as Vietnam, Cambodia and China, but in reality balut is just a Filipino thing, with the other countries also eating fertilized egg, but in a very different manner.
For example I really like the Cambodian version of the dish (with will get its own article) that is known in Khmer as pong tia koon, and comes without vinegar, but instead Khmer leaves and other bits.
Are there any balut dishes in the Philippines?
Not yet, although I am sure that one day some twat will try to gentrify the dish, but for now balut remains firmly as a really good and readily available street food!
You can try it with me on my Extreme Philippines Tour