Balut, The Philippine Cultural Staple.

Balut, salt, vinegar, delicacy, Philippines
Balut, a Philippine delicacy.

The Philippines, a country home to many food and agricultural staples. It has more than seven thousand islands attracting tourists from all over the world. These islands are rich in local delicacies and wide varieties in the different styles of street food. From these originates a unique food called Balut which is an unusual delicacy made here in the Philippines.

Balut is a chicken or duck egg which is half boiled and then eaten directly from the shell. It is commonly sold as a street food in The Philippines; you can often see it being sold in the streets across the country.

Balut is a sixteen to twenty-one day old fertilised egg of a duck or chicken. The egg is then boiled with not only the yolk present inside but also the embryo. It is considered to be one of The Philippines most famous and iconic delicacies and is eaten by cracking open the shell and having it with a bit of salt and vinegar. Some tourists like the idea of trying something new which makes this an attractive delicacy. Others are revolted by the idea of eating the fetus of a chicken.

Balut originated in the Philippines in the early 1900’s. The Philippine people were influenced by the Chinese presence back in 1885. Since then they have been preparing and eating Balut as an exotic dish. As many Filipinos begin to migrate around the world, the demand for Balut starts to rise with them in the foreign nations.

Balut holds a particular cultural importance in Philippine history. It has been discovered that the concept of eating fertilised duck eggs began in the 17th century. The Filipinos were influenced by the Chinese, Thai, and Laotians. A lot of socio-cultural factors dominate Balut market. These factors are different from the nutritional values Balut has and holds with the local people. Balut is prepared in The Philippines on special occasions and religious festivals. It marks a significant notch down in The Philippines rich cultures and traditions. People consume it as a sheer delicacy and also as a festival dish. 

Balut is prepared in a cautious and controlled manner. The technique used will determine whether or not you get the best flavours. All the techniques used in the preparation of Balut have been traditionally learned by the local makers.

The fertilised eggs are first taken and incubated under the heat of the sun, or they may be buried in layers of sand. Then they are placed in bamboo baskets to sustain the warmth to help preserve the egg. After a period of nine days, the eggs are finally revealed to a light source to see the embryo inside.

The various stages of maturation of the egg and different controlled temperatures play a significant role to accentuate all the characteristics a good egg would have. The egg changes colour during the maturation period also. The time of incubation of the egg before they are boiled depends on the locals which vary from 14 to 18 days. After cooking the egg shell is cracked open and had with a bit of salt and vinegar added to it for flavour. The whole process of making and consuming Balut is in itself an experience.

After a period of nine days, the eggs are finally revealed to a light source to see the embryo inside. The various terms of maturation of the egg and different controlled temperatures play a significant role to accentuate all the characteristics a good egg would have. The egg changes colour during the maturation period also. The time of incubation of the egg before they are boiled depends on the locals which vary from 14 to 18 days. After cooking the egg shell is cracked open and had with a bit of salt and vinegar added to it for flavour. The whole process of making and consuming Balut is in itself an experience.

Balut is one of the main staple food items here in the Philippines. It is now a very popular delicacy both among locals and tourists. It is prepared and sold in many food shops and large restaurants. Some of the exotic restaurants which cater to tourists have their own version of the Balut where it is had with a lot of spices and salts.

You can have Balut to immerse yourself in the local culture of the Filipinos and have a first-hand experience of their traditions. The preparation techniques of Balut have evolved in modern day life; they can now be prepared under special light and temperature conditions. This makes Balut one of Philippine’s widely sought after dish; now you can try one too.


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