Balut: The Fertilized Duck Egg You Eat On The Street

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A balut (spelled standardized as balot) is a developing duck embryo boiled and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines.

They are common food in countries in Southeast Asia, such as Laos (khai look ໄຂ່ລູກ in Lao), Cambodia (pong tia koon ពងទាកូន in Cambodian) and Vietnam (trứng vịt lộn or hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese).

They are often served with beer. The Tagalog and Malay word balut means “wrapped”.

What is balut

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What is balut?

In the Philippines, balut is a popular and traditional street food.

But what is balut in plain English?

Balut is a fertilized duck egg (or chicken egg) that’s 3 weeks old. The embryo in it has all its appendages, like partially feathered wings, legs, beady eyes, as well as a beak, all ready for eating!

The slightly formed skeleton of the duck embryo is what gives balut its unique taste. It’s boiled, served with spicy vinegar or rock salt, and is usually eaten at night.

How to Make Balut

Where did balut come from?

It’s not really known where balut came from. However, this dish is common throughout Southeast Asian countries, particularly in Laos, Vietnam (they call it hot vit lon), Thailand, and Cambodia.

The method of making balut is similar to that of the Chinese maodan (or feathered egg in English), which led some to think that Chinese people brought the food into the Philippines.

What do balut eggs taste like?

Balut is a Filipino delicacy that tastes like an egg with the consistency of pudding, but also a crunchy bite from the beak and bones.

The dish has been dubbed as “the world’s most disgusting food” by some (only if you look at it). But like me, many will love it for the tasty savory flavor profile when served warm!

How do you eat balut?

For the true balut experience, you need to find an egg with a thick shell and no visible cracks.

Once you’ve found it, crack a small hole and sprinkle a bit of salt into it. Then, drink the broth.

Eat the yolk and white parts as you peel off more of the shell, but don’t forget about enjoying that embryo last! You should dip it into the vinegar sauce and eat it whole.


I know; balut is such a curious dish. You know how to make and eat balut, but you probably still have so many questions.

Here are some answers to your burning questions!

Is balut an aphrodisiac?

Filipino men are said to use balut like Viagra. This is because the dish contains high levels of protein and energy.

This allegedly makes you more sexually aroused. As a result, eating balut on a regular basis can stir up the desire for sex among Filipino males!

Is eating fertilized duck eggs healthy or bad for you?

Balut is believed to be a potent aphrodisiac and cure for hangovers. Others eat it as a standalone meal due to its high level of nutrients.

It’s a nutritious snack, high in protein and calcium.

What’s the liquid in balut?

Balut is a dish where the cooked embryos of an egg-laying fowl (like ducks or hens) are still inside. The 4 parts in it are liquid (soup), yolk, albumen (egg white), and finally, the chick with its head, eyes, and beak intact, as well as its feathers.


Is balut illegal?

Balut is one of the most controversial foods in all of Asia. Filipino law and even American and Canadian laws state that if an animal isn’t considered a pet, it can be consumed for food without consequences.

Balut comes from chickens, which aren’t considered pets by any standards. This means we’re free to eat and sell them at almost any stage in their life cycle.

The short answer is that animals are classified as being either “pet” or “non-pet”. Eating non-pets like chickens then becomes legal in any form.

There have been petitions, like this petition on to stop balut from being legally eaten, but there just hasn’t been much attention for it.

What’s the experience like with balut vendors?

If you’re after a genuine experience with balut in the Philippines, then you might be curious what it’s like to buy from balut vendors!

All you’ll have to do is take a walk around residential areas, wet markets, and even the parks. But just let your ears do the work, because surely you’ll hear the balut vendors calling out “balut” loudly!

While most vendors peddle their goods, others are stationed in bigger areas, such as schools and hospitals. You should be able to buy cooked balut from dusk until dawn.

Why is balut sold at night?

Balut is such a great late-night snack, and that’s probably the only reason it’s mostly sold at night!

Some think it’s an aphrodisiac, while others believe it cures hangovers. Plus, it’s just the perfect beer pair.

Is balut haram?

Eating animals without slaughtering them properly is forbidden in the Quran because that makes it “maytah”.

The egg in a balut contains a duck embryo (or chicken). This means eating one would be considered as breaking the rules and is forbidden or haram.

How much does balut cost?

The price of balut differs around the world. You can even get them in America for $2.00 to $2.50.

In Vietnam, 1 egg from the market is around 5,000 VND ($0.22) and in the Philippines, a balut duck egg will cost you 15 PHP ($0.30).

In California, the price for 1 balut egg recently increased from $2.50 to around $5.00. This is thanks to farms needing larger space to comply with the Standards for Confining Farm Animals Act.

Can I eat balut while pregnant?

When a pregnant women eat balut eggs in the Philippines, it’s believed that it encourages an easier pregnancy and healthier baby.

Balut’s full of vitamin C and beta carotene, both of which help clean free radicals from your bloodstream. This can lead to a stronger immune system!

Can I eat balut every day?

Balut is very healthy and just like with normal chicken or duck eggs, you can eat it every day if you want. There are no potential downsides to the egg having a fertilized duck embryo.

Can I bring balut into the US?

Customs will inspect all eggs coming into the country, and balut is no exception. Eggs that appear to be cooked throughout, such as hard-boiled or scrambled eggs, are allowed entry without any additional inspections.

However, anything that doesn’t look thoroughly cooked through may require certification before it can enter America’s borders.

Can balut eggs hatch?

It’s a fair assumption that if you see balut in the US, it’ll be cooked.

It can’t hatch because it hasn’t been incubated for long enough at consistent temperatures. So it can’t become fully developed.

Can balut make you fat?

Most experts say that eating eggs will help you lose weight, and balut is no exception.

Eggs are a healthy breakfast option for those who want to trim some fat. They provide you with 2 incredibly important nutrients: protein and vitamin D, both of which can help your metabolism.

Which country is best to eat balut?

Balut is considered the national street food of the Philippines. But Vietnam is equally good for trying this exotic delicacy.

You can also find it in China. But then again, it’s available in the US and Canada as well.

What is balut sa puti?

“Balut sa puti” means “balut in white”. If the idea of gulping down feathered wings, legs, beaks, and the likes isn’t so appealing to you, then you might want to start off with this.

In balut sa puti, the duck embryo is just 16 to 18 days old. What this means is it’s still soft and fluffy. You won’t have to worry about a duckling face staring up at you while you try to eat it!

What is the balut sa puti festival?

Balut is a delicacy, so it makes sense that there’d be a festival celebrating it!

On January 31, the municipality of Pateros holds the balut sa puti festival. It has a cooking competition to find the best balut in the area. Dishes served include adobong balut, fried balut, and sizzling balut.

And of course, there’s lots of partying with plenty of beer and live music!


It may be weird to us, but balut is a delicacy, and we eat whole chicken and duck as well when they’re grown.

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.