BALUT – PHILIPPINES
If you’re of Filipino or other Asian descent, balut eggs might not sound at all exotic. But if you didn’t grow up with Asian foods, eating balut might be out of your food comfort zone. Balut eggs, considered a delicacy, are fertilized eggs that contain partially developed duck embryos. Although duck eggs are commonly used, you can also use chicken eggs. Mallard eggs are used most commonly, but Muscovy duck eggs are thought to make the best balut.
Most eggs you buy in your local grocery are unfertilized eggs, produced by hens who don’t have access to roosters. Fertilized eggs rarely make it to market; egg sellers check them for the presence of an embryo by candling, a technique that illuminates the shell and makes it transparent. Fertilized duck eggs normally incubate for 28 days, while fertilized chicken eggs incubate for just 21 days. Balut eggs have incubated for a total of 18 days for duck eggs and 13 to 14 days for chicken eggs, according to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension. At this stage, the bones are soft enough to eat and the feathers haven’t yet developed
Unlike regular eggs, balut eggs fall under the category of an ethnic food. As such, they do not undergo the same inspections and grading that regular eggs undergo, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. You can purchased balut uncooked or already cooked. If they are not already cooked, hard-boil the eggs for 20 to 30 minutes before eating them. Hard cooking will kill any bacteria that might grow in the eggs during the incubation period.
After hard-boiling, eat the balut directly from the shell. Eat balut while it is still warm. Don’t eat the shell itself. Look at the egg to see which end is larger, peel the top part of the shell, break through the membranes and sip the amniotic fluid liquid from the egg. The egg contains the duckling embryo, the egg yolk and the albumin. The yolk and embryo are completely edible. Many consider the albumin too tough to eat and discard it. Filipinos traditionally season the egg with salt, vinegar or soy sauce as they eat it. Discard the shell when you finish the inside ingredients.
Although balut might not sound appealing if you haven’t grown up with it, it does make a nutritious snack, high in protein and calcium. A serving of balut contain 188 calories, including 14 grams each of protein and fat, 2 milligrams of iron and 116 milligrams of calcium.
Balut eggs can typically be purchased from a street vendor who will often keep them warm in a bucket of sand. Duck eggs that are not properly developed after nine to twelve days are not sold as balut eggs but instead sold as penoy, which look, smell and taste similiar to a regular hard-boiled egg. In filipino cuisin, these are occasionally beaten and fried, similiar to scrambled eggs.