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Balut: Duck Egg Yolk and Chick

Featured Photo by Kaycel Corral.

Balut country — Pateros — and the neighboring Rizal towns have variations of the ubiquitous boiled duck’s egg with the little black chick curled up inside.

Balut with Black Chick Inside

Balut with Black Chick Inside

Balut can be roasted by burying in burning rice husks with a fire on top.

In the process of balut-making, the unfertilized eggs are removed and sold as penoy.

If the chick dies before it reaches the balut stage, the egg does not hatch and is called abnoy. These eggs are separated from the succeeding balut — the eating of abnoy is what separates the men from the boys. The chicks are removed from the eggs which by now have an odor, and a rotten egg omelet is made out of the yolks and whites. This round omelet on a banana leaf is called bibingkang itlog — balut fiends swear that, like the duryan fruit, it has the stink of hell but tastes like heaven. Bibingkang itlog is traditionally eaten with last night’s cold rice and is dipped in vinegar flavored with crushed garlic.

The duck egg whose chick attains rigor mortis just when it is about to hatch (therefore past the balut stage) is called ukbo. With a large chick inside and no yolk or white left, ukbo eggs are cracked, the shell thrown away, and the feathers of the duckling removed. The ducklings are cooked adobo style, fired, and returned to their stock.

Vietnam is another country where you can find duck eggs cooked like the Philippine balut. Their version is called trung vit lon and it is eaten with salt, lemon and ground pepper and enjoyed while drinking beer.

How to eat balut? Watch the video!

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I don’t get what the big deal is about eating balut.

And it’s not like the Philippines is the only country that eats fertilized duck eggs. Whatever the foreigners (?) think is a weird facet of our culinary culture, pretty sure China has the same or a similar or a more unfamiliar thing.


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