One of the most well known exotic Asian food must be balut from the Philippines. For those who hasn’t heard about this weird and wonderful traditional Pinoy dish, it is simply steamed duck embryo.
In my first trip to the Philippines back in 2009 I didn’t have a chance to try this delicacy, so when I went there again last week for Operation Smile (amazing experience, will write about that in depth soon), we make sure that balut is on top of our to-do list.
Well, here’s a video of the experience:
While balut is sold pretty much anywhere in Manila (and I suppose, most part of Philippines), they are not terribly easy to hunt down. The sellers usually operate out of a bicycle, so it’s best to ask a local where and also when you can get one.
We actually had to stop our bus once while traveling from De La Selle University Hospital back to hotel just to flag down a balut seller for some of these good stuff. A balut goes for about 10-15 peso, and usually comes with some salt, and sometimes vinegar.
check out the whole embryo separated from the egg white
As for the taste, it was like a cross between hard boiled duck egg and the tip of black chicken wings that is boiled in herbal soup till super soft. The beak can be just a little crunchy, and sometimes the feather does get in the way just a bit.
Quite gross when you think about it mentally, but really, it is delicious! I especially like the juice in balut, which probably is the allantoic fluid, or simply put, duck embryo pee.
Skilled balut eater can also separate out the whole embryo from the egg to scare non-eating spectators, I shall learn to do that next time.
So if you’re in the Philippines, try a balut, or 4 (like I did)