One of the most unusual street food in Asian countries is Balut. The strange delicacy is a partially developed bird embryo incubated from 17 to 20 days and boiled. The unfortunate bird embryo is usually duck boiled, steamed and eaten sometimes as an aphrodisiac.
A staple in most roadside markets in Southeast Asia it is sold in street markets, malls, restaurants and stores in Philippines. The delicacy although controversial is loaded with 14 grams of crude protein, 188 calories.
Where to Find Balut
Balut is eaten in many south Asian countries like Philippines and Vietnam. Others places that eat them are Laos, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Canada.
Location where Balut is sold
- Vancouver Canada
Animal welfare and health
Canadian authorities label Balut as a hazardous food source. This is because environment, incubation temperature, processing are perfect for bacteria growth including fecal pathogens at point of laying.
Ethical acceptance and practices differ based on legislation in different countries. Therefore controversies are hinged on animal welfare, incubation periods and religion prohibitions. Prohibitions are found in Islam, Christian and Judaism Religion.
Incubation and storage
The fertilized duck egg is boiled for 30 minutes and eaten immediately. The street food is either kept below 41f or handled at 135f. Balut is served cooked, boiled, fried or stewed. It is eaten with a mix of herbs, spices, salt, vinegar, chilli or garlic.
How to eat Balut
Avoid old Balut because the embryo is fully developed. This is because aged Balut would have developed feathers, bones and beaks. They are still edible but requires a stronger constitution and stomach. Eggs incubated for 17 to 20 days are boneless have smooth texture and taste more-like chicken.
Steps to Eat Balut
The first step is to cook the fertilized duck egg in boiling water for 25 to 30 minutes. Then crack the shell, peel a small hole in the membrane to sip the ammonic fluid. Finally season with vinegar, salt, chilli pepper, herbs and eat. Cooking has a significant impact on the taste and food chemistry.
I haven’t had the pleasure of eating this street snack and never will. However connoisseurs of the snack attest to an unusual blend of mousey, creamy yolky taste whatever that means? Others say it has a savory soup, yolk, fresh meaty bird taste.
How Much for Balut
Balut and salted eggs are sold based on quantity, egg sizes and prices. Egg quantity ranges from 20 eggs to 160 eggs. Eggs sizes are pee wee, small, medium and large eggs, price ranges from $0.75 to $0.95.