Balut eggs (also spelled Baloot, Baalut, Baluge, or Balute.)

Balut eggs are fertilised duck (sometimes chicken) eggs that are at the stage of development where there is a nearly developed embryo inside. The balut egg then boiled and usually eaten with salt, just like a normal boiled egg.

Balut egg, Baloot, Baalut, Baluge, Balute
Balut egg, Baloot, Baalut, Baluge, Balute

I think balut eggs might be the yuckiest looking food I have come across so far in researching for this site. Although we have no hestitation in eating eggs, or even young animals (not usually birds, but still) – balut eggs just push all of the ‘eww’ buttons in my brain.

Balut egg, Baloot, Baalut, Baluge, Balute

Balut eggs are fertilised duck (sometimes chicken) eggs that are at the stage of development where there is a nearly developed embryo inside. The balut egg then boiled and usually eaten with salt, just like a normal boiled egg.


So where is this deliciousness eaten? Well in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam it is actually quite common. You can easily pick balut eggs up from a street vendor (usually cooked), no need for a fancy restaurant in this case. Though in the Philippines in particular, popularity is increasing and you can now pick up your pre-baby duck in an omelette or even baked in pastries.

Interestingly, the age of the egg before it is cooked varies between cultures. In the Philippines, the perfect Balut egg is normally 17 days old, the point where the chick does not have beak, bones or feathers. In Vietnam however, they prefer their Balut eggs to be 19-21 days old, the point at which the bones of the chick will be firm, but they soften considerably when cooked. In case it’s hard to imagine what a 17-21 day duck foetus looks like, here is a 15 day old egg floating in hot sauce.

Balut egg, Baloot, Baalut, Baluge, Balute

And here’s a photo of a balut egg I believe is more towards the 21 day mark:

Balut, Baloot, Baalut, Baluge, Balute

Balut eggs can typically be purchased from a street vendor who will often keep them warm in a bucket of sand. Duck eggs that are not properly developed after nine to twelve days are not sold as balut eggs but instead sold as penoy, which look, smell and taste similar to a regular hard-boiled egg. In Filipino cuisine, these are occasionally beaten and fried, similar to scrambled eggs, and served with a vinegar dip.

After seeing these balut eggs, I’ll never quite look at my fried egg quite the same way again!