Posted: 03/20/2017 04:46:00 PM
While it’s true that the dish is served by everyone in the Philippines across the various grades of eateries and restaurants, it’s also true that what’s inside is considered a culinary fascination – albeit, a rather strange one to many people.
Balut is 18-day old fertilized duck eggs. Food connoisseurs often advise folks about its carnal texture, to the point that first-time eaters are strongly cautioned not to dwell on it when they first try balut. It is also said that acceptance of the delicacy depends upon the age at which one is exposed to it – so you’d most likely have to have had been exposed at a young age in order to be able to readily and easily tolerate it once you become older.
While much of the rest of the world has heard of balut and does indeed consider it a “beloved delicacy”, science class in the Philippines may have much to do with the continued popularity of a food that has landed many “most strange/disgusting” food lists through the years. In an attempt to preserve balut’s popularity in a country that is wrought with discriminating palates, schools engage in the early introduction of the food during science. Teachers in science classes often require students to eat the egg so that it doesn’t go to waste, after students studying the anatomy of birds.
In particular, Filipino families with ethnic Chinese backgrounds find the dish delightful; many people find the combination of fresh meat, a warm yolk, and savory soup a revelation, of sorts. The yolk is detached easily from the veins, the shell, and everything else inside the 18-day-old egg. In addition, some of the allure and attractiveness of balut can be claimed by its long list of health benefits, and it’s claimed that it can also boost male libido and fertility.
Balut is not developed commercially in the United States and instead, is raised and prepared by hand. After nine days, eggs are held up to light to display the embryo inside. At 17 days, the beak, bones, and feathers are still undeveloped. At 19 to 21 days, the bones are firm, but become tender when cooked. Once the balut is cooked, it is kept in buckets of warm sand and for consumption, then the egg is cracked slightly. The broth inside is drunk before the shell is entirely opened. Some people discard the white if they do not enjoy the tough, cartilaginous part. You can find balut served with beer or ale, it can be served with nothing more than salt or vinegar sauce or lemon juice, and they might also be served in a scrambled egg dish or baked into pastries. Some of the finest examples of Filipino culture and cuisine can be found not just with balut, but also with the Filipino foods served alongside it!