Balut - A Gross Asian Delicacy

May 02, 2006 by Visual Recipes | Filed in Spotlight on Food | 28 Comments

I was watching one of those travel shows the other night and the host was in the Philippines showing civilians chowing down on Balut, a fertilized duck egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. They are mainly sold by street vendors at night.

I have never been so grossed out watching someone eat something before.

To read more about Balut click here

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May 02, 2006

Nasty. Just plain NASTY. It sounds like something you’d have to eat on that TV show “the Fear Factor”...


May 13, 2006

I saw this at a Vietnamese grocery in Oklahoma City… scary stuff! I think it is a good idea for the Fear Factor huh?


May 14, 2006

It was used in fear factor for the eating stunt. Im from the Philippines and yes, i’ve already tried the Balut. Honestly, it is pretty nasty especially if its the first time that you’ve tasted it.

Pinoy ako

Jul 24, 2006

You have to have guts to eat Balut….But its actually not as disgusting as it seems.

German American

Jul 29, 2006

My mystery acquisition from the local asian store.  Ended up ah vietnamese delicacy - identified by hair and bones.
Omitting the delicacy identification (hair and bones) and it frying southern style, it was actually delicious
getting past the looks and had the eating the variety of meat and traditional egg parts. Yes, eating. 

Quit being such scaredy cat americans that you are.  We’ll never get around globally if we don’t open
our eyes and read and try what the world is up to!  You want to be english influenced the rest of your life
with marmalade?


Jul 30, 2006

Scaredy-cat American here…and proud of it wink  Eating balut will prove nothing except the effectiveness of your gag reflex.  There are countless other ways to take in some Filipino culture, and none of them would be featured on a show like “Fear Factor”.  I’ll be content with my sweet-and-sour pork and mango shakes, thank you very much.  That’s about as exotic as I’ll get with my food selection over there, though I need to at least try halo-halo once.

First Generation American

Aug 12, 2006

Alright—- I’m not really a huge fan of balut either.  My mother is from the Philippines and I am thankful that she can’t find any balut where we live.  But I agree with “German American” that American’s tend to be very sheltered from other cultures delicacies.  Eating some Chinese food at the local take out joint really doesn’t qualify as culture.  I think “most” American’s are incredibly sheltered and narrow-minded and cannot open up to the fact it’s all a matter of nature vs. nurture.  If you had grown up eating these “gross” foods, you wouldn’t find them to be gross.  American’s can eat some pretty nasty stuff too (i.e. chitlins). 

Most people are turned off by haggis (Scottish delicacy) because of what’s in it ( but it’s actually pretty good.  I swore up and down that I would never try haggis (the only reason it ever came up is because my dad is from Scotland).  I spent a summer in Scotland when I was 12 and my aunt made dinner one night and it was delicious (except for the peas) and afterwords I learned that I had just eaten haggis. 

People need to learn to get past their pre-conceived notions about something based on it’s appearance.  If you’re not brave enough to try it, I wouldn’t make any comments about it.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I don’t believe an opinion can be formed without actual experience.  Also, if you think about it… you all probably eat eggs and poultry…this is just a saltier, younger version all wrapped into one (with a few more bones here and there). 

If you’re looking for some great Philipino food, try authentic pancit or Lumpia Shanghai.  You’ll never crave another eggroll again.


Sep 05, 2006

Balut, whats the difference from balut, veal, cow brains, tripe, or eating bambi? Every culture has their own kinds of food. Why knock somebody for something that is special and tastes good to them. I am sure the american big mac soesnt taste so good to everybody. If you notice they arent all overweight either. Maybe try taking some eating tips.


Sep 10, 2006

I agree with you “Pinoy ako”! It’s not disgusting if you have the guts to eat it… I mean no one gives a **** what you sissies think of it if you don’t really want to lay a hand on it. If you’re used to eat well-prepared & thoroughly clean meals, Balut is NOT for you, O faint of heart. It is just a part of the exotic Filipino menu, that you DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO EAT! I have… I think it’s good… especially knowing the Pinoy belief that “it’s good for the knees”; if you know what I mean! grin


Sep 11, 2006

just to let you know..
we also have this food called “Adidas” .. it’s a chicken feet on a bbq.
and it taste soooooo good!!

but pls.. better leave your comments to yourself if you have no idea how it taste…
some ppl are really likes to overact… should win an Oscar Award for that.

Chef By Ktel

Sep 15, 2006

Instead of showing gross food on your front page, why not just have a link to it.


Sep 19, 2006

I agree with native girl. Live and let live. How about drinking the secretions from the mammary glands of a lactating bovine? If we hadn’t grown up drinking milk in western culture, it would probably seem gross. Every culture has foods which others might find gross. How about clams oysters and mussels? Crabs? Chitlins? on and on.

Pinoy rin

Nov 12, 2006

If any of you want to try eating balut when you visit the Philippines, try the ones from Pateros in Metro Manila.  It is the biggest supplier of balut after all. 

It is so nutritious and delicious.  Just read about what JoeDcee said, it is good for the knees… it could give you a boost of energy for a whole day of sightseeing and a whole night of partying.  Balut is among favored beer-match delicacies here.

If you do want to go straight to eating balut, try to crack it at the smaller end first, take away the shell to make a small hole, peel off the membrane and drink the juice first.  Then, take away all the shell to expose the still yolk-covered embryo, sprinkle some iodized salt, close your eyes and eat the whole bunch except for the now hardened egg white.

Words of caution: 1) do not eat with an empty stomach.  2) not advisable in large (more than one) quantities for those with heart ailments (it may give so much boost after eating so many that the heart gets overworked).

We also have a variety called a penoy… this one is an almost-hardboiled duck egg.  It would be good training prior to balut eating. 

Another variety is a orange crusted deep fried balut or penoy dipped into a batter before frying.

Hope you will enjoy eating balut someday!


Sep 04, 2007

Yummy! Try before you judge.

Hung Azit

Sep 06, 2007

so good
I like it , verry easy to eat

it sever with ginger,herb , pepper, salt

Someone British

Sep 14, 2007

You should make corrections to your blog - it’s also an Eastern European delicacy!


Oct 16, 2007

There are many delicacies attached to many different cultures you eat what you want without calling names and singling out countries. How childish!

Do you eat lamb fries(testicles)calf head, chicken feet, pigs snouts,ears etc,snake, and the list goes on…don’t call me a sissy because I am an American or becuse I do not care to eat one particular thing..that sure won’t bring understanding and peace among nations.

May 12, 2008

Balot’s not that bad. Here’s some thought I had while reading comments here. Would you still call it gross or yucky if you were raised in a balot eating country and taught to eat and love balot at a young age? **** no!
I was actually laughing my butt off when fear factor featured balot in one of their challenges. If it’s gross to you, you wouldn’t have the stomach to eat other delicacies like barbecued chicken/pork intestines, monkey/cow brain (booyah! cow brain), durian(fruit with the baddest smell), 1 day old deep fried duckling and the list goes on.
If balot grosses you out how ‘bout the stuff being served at fastfood chains like mickie d’s for example? their stuff will kill you.
Balot is sometimes best paired with beer! But eat too much and expect cholesterol overload.
Balot, is good with salt and vinegar.
Eat balot or die smile) znkdrdr

fallen angel

Feb 17, 2009

It’s pretty good actually. Although it looks disgusting. You’ll learn to love love it once you get used to it. Hope you guys like it. I do because I’ve eaten it and I’m from the Philippines.

sara ferguson

Jan 09, 2010

Look, I am engaged to a Philippino and I went there and tried it.  It was great.  I had two of those and two red horse beers each night.  Now here is the trick.  Do not think about it as anything but an egg.  I also recommend that you let them teach you how to eat it properly.  I am in fact cooking them now.  I live in San Diego and found a filipino market which carried them.  this is truly good eats!

from phil.

Sep 19, 2010

Excuse me scared Americans but I suggest you should taste balut first before judging it. Gosh!

Wilma C Smith

Sep 30, 2010

I never ate balut. I like eggs very much, but I am not sure if I would have the courage to eat this. However, I do like to taste different recipes.


Oct 16, 2010

This travel show you talk about was bizarre foods with Andrew Zimmerman. To the people saying this should be on fear factor, this was on of the challenges in fear factor a couple years ago. And it’s actually not bad.  Just dont look at the baby dduck while you eat his head LMAO.

Pinoy Girl

Feb 06, 2011

It’s not gross if your used to eating it, eating it once in a week won’t hurt you but eating it a lot will surely kill you ( HIGH CHOLASTEROL)
Please respect the food of other nationality.


Mar 07, 2011

The first time I tasted balut I was still an infant. When I got older I also thought it’s gross but my mom said you will miss half of your life if you dont taste this. When I saw it on fear factor I was so jealous of the contestants who were eating it and after that I made my mom buy some ahahaha smile


Mar 18, 2011

I’d have to think about it.  There’s a version I heard about fermented for a while in clay or something and that one I’d probably not try.  But the one above:  Hey l love eggs, and I love chicken and I cook the whole chicken, reserving the bones and feet and such for soup or stock.  I have a cow’s tongue thawing for dinner. 

I’m American, and I do try most anything.  It did take my dad and I a bit to wash down the smoked silkworm cocoons we were given by another relative once, but when we did it we discovered the worst part wasn’t the cocoon, it was whatever they were smoked with. 

I grew up in a house where we tried most everything once.  Even as children and probably didn’t know better wink  I’ve found some great taste treats that way, along with a few no-repeats on occasion.  (Cottage cheese for me is a REAL no-repeat.  Those curds???) 

Everyone’s mileage differs, and it is fun to explore.


Mar 24, 2011

A colleague of mine is Indonesian. The other day he showed me and other colleagues pictures of balut and the deep fried chick and ‘threated’ to bring some for us to eat. I like to try a lot of different foods that might be seen by some as ‘not inviting’ (snails, shellfish, sheep’s brain, kidneys, cow tongue, haggis, horrible smelling (but delightfull) french cheeses, pigeon lungs etc) and I find that most of them are quite tasty. The issue I would have with balut is probably the visual aspect.  The things I mentioned have all more or less the same consistancy. Balut however looks just yucky…. Maybe it would be easier to eat if it came out of the blender.


Jan 05, 2012

For me balut is a nice food and it isn’t as nasty as you think. Balut is considered part of filipino culture and making false beliefs of it is just worthless unless you try to eat balut. I’m sure you’ll see what it taste like.

Also, apparently it’s very healthy. So try one.

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