Tell anyone that you have travelled to the Philippines, one of the first questions you will be asked is “have you tried balut”? And if you’ve been, you probably have.
What is Balut?
Balut follows that ancient Asian tradition of foods that sound so disgusting most westerners retch at the thought of them, such as the insects of Wangfujing and the like. Although, fun fact: Fois Gras was actually invented in Vietnam!
At first glance, it appears to be a boiled duck egg, which is partly right. It is certainly a duck egg, and it has most certainly been boiled, but the salient fact here that would put you off dipping your bread soldiers in is that the duck egg is not only fertilised but pretty damned close to hatching.
Balut is duck foetus.
Like an egg, you crack away from the top and peel off the shell add salt and vinegar and start munching away.
Yoke, beak, bones and feathers. And then at the end, you drink the leftover juices. Sold yet?
The taste unsurprisingly is pretty weird, particularly the essence of feather part, although it’s not as bad as it sounds. It tends to be eaten late at night after beers too, like their version of a kebab.
So definitely a must try if you are in the Philippines. The real challenge though, is could you eat balut sober?