A balut (spelled standardized as balot) is a developing bird embryo (usually a duck or chicken) that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It originates and is commonly sold as street-food in the Philippines. They are common food in countries in Southeast Asia, such as Laos (khai look ໄຂ່ລູກ in Lao), Cambodia (pong tia koun ពងទាកូន in Cambodian), Thailand (Khai Khao ไข่ข้าว in Thai) and Vietnam (trứng vịt lộn or hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese). They are often served with beer. The Tagalog and Malay word balut means “wrapped”.
The length of incubation before the egg is cooked is a matter of local preference, but generally ranges between 14 and 21 days.
The eating of balut is controversial due to religious, animal welfare and human health concerns.
Balut is a fertilized bird egg (usually a duck) that is incubated for 14 to 21 days, boiled or steamed, and the contents eaten direct from the shell. In balut that has been incubated for longer periods, the embryo is well developed and the features of a baby duck are recognisable. The partially-developed embryo bones are soft enough to chew and swallow as a whole. The mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchus), also known as the “Pateros duck”, is considered to be the most important breed for egg production to make balut.
In the Philippines and other localities where balut is a traditional food, it is a common street-food and is also sold in stores and malls. It is a substantially higher source of protein and calcium compared to a regular unfertilized egg, and it is relatively cheaper. The Philippines were influenced by the Chinese around 1885, and since then, balut has been included as a traditional part of the culture. Wherever Filipinos migrated around the country for work, a large market of balut would develop. Controversies arose as knowledge of the food spread around the South East Asian countries and then globally. People questioned the ethics of eating the food.
In the Philippines and Southeast Asia, balut is a common food that people eat. Balut is a fertilized chicken or duck egg with an almost developed embryo. The egg will be eaten in the shell once it has been boiled. There are different nutritional facts about balut since it can be either fertilized chicken or duck eggs. However, the nutritional data for chicken egg balut or duck egg balut are almost the same.
In general, balut nutrition specifications between chicken and duck have minor differences. Both eggs have around 14 grams of crude protein, 188 calories each, and around 100 milligrams of calcium. A duck egg might have a higher value of nutrition than a chicken egg but overall, both chicken and duck balut have around the same nutrition value.