Oh, balut. That infamous Filipino snack which send shivers down people’s spines around the World. These include even those who’ve only heard what it actually is, not to mention getting close to eating it. It regularly features on the lists of the most disgusting foods of our planet and nearly nobody can understand how the hell so many Filipinos can actually enjoy this snack. Call me a weirdo but after eating balut more than 15 times in the Philippines (the first time within an hour of arrival in Manila!) I can honestly say – I really like it!
So, what the heck is this legendary balut? Think of an ordinary egg. Yep, an egg with its normal texture and white colour. You open it up as you would normally do with most of the eggs. That’s when the things dramatically change. There’s someone watching you. Nope, I’m not talking about the balut vendor. I’m talking about that little unborn bird inside the egg. An unborn chick. Or, in the more popular variant – a duck embryo which never got a chance to stroll on the streets of Duckburg or end its life as a Peking roast duck. Nope, while enjoying balut you’re ending the life of this little cute duckling before it’s even started.
There are different varieties of baluts being sold. The most hardcore ones are already pretty much grown-ups aging between 18 and 21 days. While these numbers might immediately bring some loose connotations with legal drinking ages in numerous countries, if you’d rather prefer to drink balut before you eat it, go for the younger ducklings (ask the vendor above their age). That’s because those eggs contain more embryonic fluids than the older ones – I personally really love drinking those! Who’d resist a shot of duck embryonic fluid in the evening, huh? Cheers! (I’m not being sarcastic here, trust me)
If you fancy the older chicks (pun intended), you will be delighted to see that these already have some tiny feathers which might get accidentally stuck between your teeth. Nothing to worry about, they come off quite easily. You’ll also get more raw meat – the great source of protein! In fact balut is nothing but a protein bomb – thing about the egg on steroids. Perhaps you should include the baluts in your body-building diet plan?
So how does the whole thing taste? Quite yummy, if you ask me. It pretty much tastes like what it is – an ordinary egg with some rather tasteless meat inside. Not necessary as good as Kungpao Chicken but definitely far from being disgusting. Another good thing is that after 2-3 baluts you already feel so full you don’t need to do eat anything else for the next couple of hours. However, bear in mind that balut is believed to be an aphrodisiac. A few of the locals told me that eating more than three of them would result in giving your wife/girlfriend/f-friend/escort a literally very hard time in bed. Maybe this also explains why you hardly ever see any balut vendors selling them during the daytime.
In general I’d say it tastes waaaaay much better than it sounds. Especially the hot embryonic fluids (I told you I’m fine with being called a weirdo) have a quite tasty flavor. The rest is nothing but a very fulfilling snack, perfect for treating sudden munchies or as beer companion. I’d heavily advise anyone travelling to the Philippines to give balut a try, even for the sake of cultural experience. That’s because unlike those overpriced bugs you see on the Kao San Rd in Bangkok, which are sold nearly entirely to tourists, balut is indeed an authentic local Filipino snack, popular around the whole country.
Have you tried balut? Liked the taste? Share your balut horror stories with us!