December 21, 2010


a.k.a. balut sa puti in Tagalog

balut - (ba-lùt; Tagalog [Metro Manilan, Lagueño and Bulaqueño), Batangueño, Mindoreño, Cebuano, Boholano, Waray, Ilonggo, Masbateño, Bicolano, Ilocano, Pangasinense, Itawis, Ibanag, and Capampangan, Surigaonon, and Zamboangueño delicacy) [n.] boiled fertilized egg of itik (mallard duck), approximately 16 to 19 days old of incubation with almost fully developed embryo or chick inside the shell.

The famed balut sa puti is in the center stage among the pulutan (food served with the wines) when the classy Planet Grapes of Tuscany, McKinley Hill in BGC introduces their concept of pairing world-class wines with Pinoy street foods themed as "wine meets street food." Here, a hard-boiled balut egg becomes the centerpiece.

A table setting of  Planet Grapes' "wine meets street food" with  balut egg as the centerpiece on each plate.
Balut has found also its way on classy food stalls such as this bucket of balut  eggs offered to customers at daytime Mercato Centrale in Bonifacio Global City (BGC - The Fort), Taguig City

The cooked duck embryo of a fertilized duck egg is so called balut sa puti because the biggest part of the embryo is still wrapped in egg white, fondly called by Pinoys as bato (stone) being the toughest part of balut that would require a lot of chewing to fully masticate it. 

Removing the shell before your eyes under an open light is not for the weak at heart. It is suggested that you eat balut without looking at the egg content, or better yet eat this while hiding in the dark.
Balut is eaten by first cracking an opening at the tip of the egg by tapping it lightly against a hard surface. Using the finger, the shards on the cracked portion is removed to expose the veiny thin film that would easily peel off or burst open, further exposing the watery content (amniotic fluid) of balut. More often, the thin film on the side would adhere and peel off with the shard of the shell. A pinch of salt is then sprinkled into the hole and/or doused with little amount of vinegar. 

More often, balut is cracked and opened only on the top side, then a pinch of salt is sprinkled all over the exposed boiled chick. The juice (amniotic fluid) in then slurped or sipped out.

The juice (amniotic fluid) in the egg is immediately sipped out or slurped to savor the taste. When drained, the rest of the shell is cracked open and discarded to expose the whole content of balut

Sprinkling more salt or dousing more vinegar may be needed before biting or mouthing the whole content of balut

For those who cannot brave the sight of the veiny yolk and the hairy dead chick, it is advised to take balut at night or in a dark room or unlighted places. This probably is the reason why balut is popularly sold and available in the streets at night. 

Balut is not unique to the Philippines, as it can be found also in other Asian countries where it is known having another name and is served or eaten with different condiments. 

Balut is high in protein and is valued by Pinoys for its nutritional benefits, considered by most locales as vigor enhancing delicacy and as an aphrodisiac.  

Click the image for you to find out why it is advised that you eat this delicacy at night or under the cover of darkness. Disgusting for some. It's yucky but yummy exotic food for those who have tried.

Balut is sold in almost all cities and big towns all over the Philippines. In Bacolod City, the egg is always kept warm over a steamer that is also used in heating boiled peanuts.
In Guadalupe Nuevo (Tulay), Makati City, workers would stop to buy and eat balut from a sidewalk stall beside the Guadalupe wet market.

Vendors and bargain hunters in Divisioria of Tondo, Manila are also offered with the delicacy.

Balut has no marking - Marking boiled eggs with distinctive line or mark using a pencil or pentel pen is done to easily distinguish balut sa puti from the balut penoy, such as this tray of balut with a bottle of spiced vinegar sold on the sidewalk under the viaduct in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The marked eggs are the balut penoy, while the unmarked ones are balut sa puti

Production of balut is also done now in other provinces throughout the country where eggs of itik are available. 

The famed balut in Pateros of Metro Manila are no longer originating in this town after duck farming were wiped out by the intrusion of modern development in Metro Manila. 

Most duck eggs used in making balut in Pateros are now sourced from the duck raisers in Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces. 

Due to limited supply of duck eggs, commercially produced brown chicken eggs are now fast becoming an alternative in making balut, known as balut itlog manok.  

While in Cebu City, balut is available day and night at the Fuente Osmeñia Park.

Balut eggs can also be served in several ways. It can be cooked in tomato sauce to become balut caldereta or balut afritada, or in soup like the balut a la pobre, and as paste or spread for bread, as in balut pate.


Though considered as delicacy by some Pinoys, balut is considered unclean or filth by the followers of Islamic faith and is Haram (forbidden) in Islamic Laws because it comes under the heading of eating maytah, or that the animal has died without being slaughtered properly. 

Eating maytah is definitely Haram according to Islam. Thus, balut should not be served to Muslims so as not to offend or insult them.
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For more about Pinoy foods, see also my OPEN & FREE food dictionary.

With valuable information, etymology, history, nutrition, how to cook it, culinary tips, how it is called in other dialects, and more...

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