Oh my! THIS is Balut, fertilized egg embryo (& how to make it)

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  July 19, 2021

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

What is balut in plain English?

Balut is a fertilized three-week-old duck or chicken egg with an embryo in it already formed with all the normal appendages like the partially feathered wings, legs, beady eyes as well as beak, and then prepared for eating.

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

How to Make Balut

Favorite Asian Recipes video

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.

Where did balut come from?

It’s not really known where Balut came from. However, this dish is common throughout Southeast Asia, particularly in Laos, Vietnam, 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 bring the food into the Philippines.

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 have 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 dip and eat it whole.

Is balut a viagra?

Filipino men are said to use balut as Viagra. This is because the dish contains high levels of protein and energy which allegedly make one more sexually aroused, stirring up the desire for sex among Filipino males who eat it on a regular basis.

Are balut eggs healthy or bad for you?

Balut is believed to be a potent aphrodisiac and cure for a hangover. Others eat it as a stand-alone meal due to its high level of nutrients. It is a nutritious snack, high in protein and calcium.

What is the liquid in balut?

The duck balut is a dish where the cooked embryo of an egg-laying fowl, like ducks or hens are still inside. The four parts that compose it include liquid (soup), yolk, albumen (egg white), and finally the chick with its head, eyes, and beak intact as well as feathers.



How to make Balut

Joost Nusselder
Balut is believed to be a potent aphrodisiac and cure for a hangover. Others eat it as a stand-alone meal due to its high level of nutrients. It is a nutritious snack, high in protein and calcium.
No ratings yet
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 4 people


  • 8 thick-shelled eggs
  • 1 cup palay rice (unhusked rice)


  • Select Duck or Chicken eggs by tapping the eggs with yiur fingers to pull out eggs with cracks or thin-shelled. (Eggs with cracks have a hollow sound while thin-shelled have a brittle sound)
  • Only thick-shelled eggs are used for balut making because these can withstand the stresses of egg placement and removal in cylindrical baskets called “toong”. These are open on both ends, 34 inches high and 21 inches in diameter; spaces around are filled with rice hull up to 4 inches from the brim. Ideally, eggs made into balut should not be older than five days from the time they are laid by ducks.
  • Roast or heat palay to a temperature of 107 °F or 430 °C in an iron vat or cauldron. Remove palay when you can hold it in your hands.
  • Eggs are then placed in the Toong, these are alternated with heated Palay bags. The number of heated palay bags is 1 for every egg bag. Placed Two (2) heated Palay bags on the bottom and 2 on the top level of the toong to ensure heat conservation. For every toong containing 10 layers of eggs, you would need 13 bags of roasted palay.
  • Each Toong can hold 10 bags. Cover with just sacks to conserve heat further. Candling is the process of holding eggs against the hole of a lighted box in a dark room to separate infertile eggs from Fertile one. Infertile eggs are called Penoy; these are also boiled like Balut but fetch a lower price.
  • First candling is done on the 11th day after eggs are placed in Toong, candling is again done on the 17th day to separate eggs with dead embryos (abnoy) and those that are ready to be sold as balut. Eggs with weak embryos take 18-20 days to be released, these are hard boiled and sold.
  • Eggs intended for hatching are left in the balutan for 28 days when duckling will hatch. After 20 days palay bags are not heated anymore since embryos can generate enough heat to keep them warm.
  • When using kerosene or electric incubators for hatching duck eggs, maintain a temperature of100°F and humidity from 55°F to 60° Do not hatch duck and chicken eggs together in 1 incubator as duck eggs require a different temperature and a higher rate of humidity. A pan of water kept in the bottom of the incubator helps maintain humidity level. During the incubation period, turn eggs at least 3 to 4 times a day to obtain a better percentage of hatchability.
  • Clean hatching eggs with slightly moist, clean rag before storing to prevent contamination of the developing embryo, or newly hatched chicks.
Keyword Balut
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Watch this Video from a Famous Vlogger who posted about Balut. Credit goes to the Owner of this Video.

FAQ about balut

How long should balut be boiled?

To cook balut, you should boil it for 20 minutes or steam it for 30 minutes to make it a really hard-boiled egg and helps soften the embryo inside for eating. You can then let it cool under cold water to stop it from cooking further, but it should be eaten still hot.

Are balut eggs alive? Are they boiled alive?

Balut is boiled fertilized eggs with a formed embryo in them and in the Philippines, these embryos are boiled alive and then served to eat. In most Western countries with large Filipino communities the eggs are often chilled first, killing the embryo before the eggs are boiled.

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, and balut comes from chickens not considered pets by any standards. This means they’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 chicken eggs then becomes legal in any form.

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

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.

Are balut haram?

Eating animals without slaughtering them properly is forbidden in the Quran, because that makes it “maytah”. The egg in a balut contains an embryo. This means eating one would be considered as breaking the rules and is forbidden or haram.

Are balut eggs expensive?

The price of balut eggs differs around the world, and you can even get them in America for $2 to $2.50. In Vietnam, one egg bought 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 one balut egg not so long ago increased from $2.50 to around $5 because of the larger space needed for farms to comply with the Standards for Confining Farm Animals act.

Can I eat balut while pregnant?

When a Filipino pregnant woman eats a balut egg, she believes it encourages an easier pregnancy and the healthier their child will be once born. They’re 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 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 embryo when eating it.

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 does not look thoroughly cooked through may require certification before it can enter America’s borders.

Can I microwave balut?

You can’t microwave balut to cook the egg, you have to boil them to make them edible, but it’s perfectly fine to reheat pre-cooked balut in the microwave.

Is it safe to reheat balut?

Balut is best served freshly boiled, but it’s perfectly safe to reheat. You can put the egg in hot water for around 5 minutes (it doesn’t have to be boiling yet) or microwave the egg for 1 to 3 minutes.

Should balut be refrigerated?

Most people enjoy eating balut freshly cooked, but the shelf-life of cooked balut can last up to one day before it begins to spoil and should be kept in the refrigerator for no more than one week or so.

Can balut eggs hatch?

It’s a fair assumption that if you see balut in the US, it will be cooked. It can’t hatch because it hasn’t been incubated for long enough at consistent temperatures and can no longer fully develop.

Can balut make you fat?

Most experts say eating eggs will help you lose weight and balut is no exception. Eggs are a healthy breakfast option for those who want to lose weight. They provide you with two 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 to visit to try this exotic delicacy. You can find it in China, but then again, it’s available in the US and Canada as well.

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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.