A couple of years ago, after first hearing about balut, which is an almost fully developed duck embryo still in the shell, I couldn’t think of anything that sounded worse to eat. Well, that was then and this is now. After the Wildfoods festival, I think I can eat anything! So I’ve been searching for balut, without success, until yesterday I found them at an Asian food store here on the Sunshine Coast. Balut is a very popular street food in the Philipines apparently. Today was the day, an exciting new lunch, so a bit of research indicated I should boil the eggs for about half an hour. No problems there, even I can boil eggs. I let them cool a little after cooking, and carefully broke away a small section of shell so I could drink the ‘broth’ inside. There wasn’t much, but it tasted delicious. I can’t quite pick the flavour, maybe a cross between egg and duck (there’s a surprise!), quite strong, and a lovely aroma. Then it was time to carefully remove the shell. I have to admit, balut isn’t the nicest looking snack I’ve tried.
And breaking it up to eat it doesn’t make it look any better.
The yellow yolk tastes just like egg yolk, but maybe a bit stronger, and the embryo itself was a bit chewy with a sort of flavour and texture that might come from overcooked boiled duck (not that I’ve tried that). The egg white part was so hard and rubbery I didn’t even bother to try it. I actually quite enjoyed the flavour and would probably eat balut again, but I’m not going to rush out and buy more in the near future.