Wednesday, August 22, 2007


We now travel to Southeast Asia, where we will again translate the language of food delicacies. This time, we will investigate Balut, or fertilized duck eggs that are boiled and eaten with a pinch of salt.

Largely considered delicacies in the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam, balut (Trứng vịt lộn or Hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese, Pong tea khon in Cambodian) contain 15-day-old crunchy duck embryos that are seen as a high-protein aphrodisiac. Produced in mass quantities, ferilized duck eggs are incubated in warm baskets until they are ready to be boiled and served.

What I want to know is, where do you find a baby duck to keep the balut farm running? It's like, "Oops. We ate the last ferilized duck egg. Oh well, let's try chickens."

I can see the importance of balut as a high-protein food source, but I must say that the textural elements of crunchy duck embryos and squishy yolk scare me a little. I'm not sure if I understand the language of balut. Can you help me translate?


Editor said...

I do not like Balut! I would not eat them in a box with a fox. I would not eat them in a house with a mouse. I do not like Balut!

Beenzzz said...

Why would anyone want to eat balut? Why? WHYYYYYYY? said...

Hell I eat McDonalds and Taco Bell. Surely I could stomach a serving of Balut.

Burfica said...

Never never never. My brother in law is Philippino, and he has eaten them, when he lived over there. *gag*

Translator said...

Editor - I do not like them, Sam I am!

Beenzzz - I'm not sure. I'm not sure.

Ablogaboutnothing - Yep. You're right. They can't be any worse than that stuff.

Burfica - Wow. Ask him what they taste like - I'm really curious!

Thanks, all! And check out my newfangled little poll that I've added to the post. It's a quick way to add your opinion!

tom said...

When I was in the Air Force there was a guy in my office that was married to a girl from the Philippines and he would bring Balut in...His were not refrigerated and he told me that in the Philippines they would bury the duck egg in the ground where it would "Cook" and dig it up sometime later..It smelled nasty and he would always have little feathers stuck to his lip or face after eating one..Absolutely disgusting, gross no translation possible !!

Jaya said...

I found this totally repulsive. But then I was thinking- why? We eat the stage before this, eggs, and the stage after this, full grown ducks... why is this middle stage so much more disgusting? I don't know, but damn, get that thing away from me!!

Gerri said...

No way, no how. I've definitely heard of these and my ex-husband had tried one before because a co-worker brought them to a picnic. When he told me that we divorced.

Translator said...

Tom - I agree. Translation is particularly difficult for this one.

Jaya - Sorry to repulse you! You've got a good point. We eat chickens but we don't freak out about eggs. Giant single cells from the chicken's uterus. Why not balut?

Gerri - Is that Absolutley True? ;)

Dan Harley said...

I'm in Ho Chi Minh City right now, and I had balut with dinner last night. It tastes a lot better than it looks, and I would certainly eat balut again.

CJ David said...

I live in the Philippines, I don't eat balut, (and probably never) but yes, it's enjoyed by most people here.

Looking at your balut picture, I have to comment though that Balut is not eaten by removing all or half of the shell with the embryo exposed.

People just make a small hole on the shell to sip the juice and should I say nibble and suck the rest of the filling. This method avoids people to see the embryo which lets their tastebuds focus on how delicious it is.

Now I just don't know how they deal with feeling the texture of it with their tongue. That's something I personally couldn't take that's why I don't eat balut.