Baby chick in egg food

Balut, The Controversial Street Food Made From Fertilized Duck Eggs

By Katie Serena

Published November 21, 2021

Updated February 11, 2022

Known as balut, this popular dish from Southeast Asia is made by incubating a fertilized bird egg for weeks, then steaming and eating the undeveloped chick right from the shell.

If you thought bird’s nest soup was weird, wait until you try unhatched baby duck. Balut eggs are considered a delicacy in some places around the world, but it’s definitely not something everyone is willing to give a try.

Considered a street food since you can eat it while on the go, balut is said to be worth looking past the way this looks because the taste is like nothing else.

Wikimedia CommonsA balut egg in its shell.

Even those with an iron stomach may cringe at the sight of the balut egg. Unlike any hard-boiled egg you’ve seen before, it offers an added bonus: there, next to the yolk, is the tiny, hard-boiled carcass of a duck fetus.

The sight of a small animal inside of your hard-boiled egg is usually the stuff of nightmares, but in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, its the stuff of culinary fascination.

The History Of The Balut Egg

The origins of the balut egg date back to the 1800s, and since then, the process of preparing them hasn’t changed much. Balut was first introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese around 1885 and it has been included as a part of its tradition ever since.

Going forward wherever Filipinos migrated for work, a large need and market for the balut egg developed, too.

How To Cook A Balut Egg

A balut egg is created when a fertilized duck egg is incubated just long enough for the fetus to begin forming, usually between 12 and 18 days. According to most culinary experts, the ideal egg has been incubated for 17 days.

The longer the egg incubates, the more pronounced the features of the duck fetus become. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, the incubation conditions must be perfect, so as not to kill the fetus. If it dies before the appropriate length of time has passed, the egg is worthless and will not be useful as a balut egg.

Business Insider’s guide to eating balut egg.

Once the egg has been incubated for the proper amount of time, the cooking process begins. The egg is hard-boiled almost exactly the same way that normal eggs are, though the reaction that occurs within a balut egg is quite different.

The liquids in a balut egg, rather than solidifying, turn into a sort of broth, that then simmers the duck fetus and the yolk. It’s sort of like making a soup within the egg itself but instead of needing to boil and simmer for multiple hours, you get a big punch of flavor in a relatively quick time.

When the egg is done cooking, it should be eaten right away, when still warm. Due to the presence of the broth, the contents should be eaten straight from the shell. The broth is sipped first, then the fetus and the yolk are eaten.

Wikimedia CommonsA balut egg in traditional broth.

What Does It Taste Like?

If you can get past the concept of eating a duck fetus, complete with tiny facial features, the overall experience is said to be a pleasant one. In fact, the more duck-like the features are, the more manly the eater is said to be. The egg, for the most part, tastes like an egg, and according to those who have had it, the fetus “tastes like chicken.”

The balut egg is most popular in Southeast Asia, where it has been eaten for many centuries, though it has been seen around the world. Outside of Asia, it’s often seen as a taboo food or a novelty, not eaten for enjoyment but for sport.

Balut Is Not Without Controversy

Ethical concerns have been raised over the egg, most obviously because of the presence of a duck embryo, but also because of the discrepancies over its classifications. In some countries, the balut egg is considered an egg, as it has not yet hatched.

However, in some countries, such as Canada, it is not considered an egg and is therefore subjected to different labeling and trade requirements.

Despite everything that balut eggs have working against them, the southeast Asian culture still reveres them to this day. They are eaten as street food throughout the Philippines and are even considered a restorative and curative food for pregnant women.

So, do you think you can stomach one?

After reading about the balut egg, check out bird’s nest soup. Then, take a look at these crazy 1960’s foods.

The Untold Truth Of Balut


By Courtney Giardina/Updated: Jan. 27, 2021 9:50 am EST

Balut is considered to be one of the first exotic food delicacies of the Philippines. Inspired by Chinese culture, balut dates back to almost 200 years ago. What once was considered a high-class dish is now enjoyed with a cold beer. It's as casual as an ice cream on a hot summer day and as pivotal an inclusion in the Philippines as ketchup is on a hot dog. Though when one sees balut for the first time, the reaction may not be the same as a hot dog. Without the understanding of the culture in which it was brought up, it's easy to say, "no, thank you."

For the Philippines, balut isn't just something to be enjoyed, but a way of life. Back in the 1950s, the municipality of Pateros had around 400,000 ducks producing eggs that would soon become balut, the number one industry in the area. But, what exactly does a duck have to do with balut? What makes it such a favorite among the Filipino culture? Let's start cracking the shell on balut and dive into the thick of it.

What is balut?

Johan Nilsson/Getty Images

Balut is a street food widely consumed in the Philippines, but is also popular in places like Vietnam, where it's called hot vit lon, Thailand, China, Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries. There's no creative way to describe balut, but to just tell it like it is — it's a fertilized duck egg. Yes, it's a duck egg that has been incubated at about 104 degrees fahrenheit for a specific period of time. The fertilization process for balut ranges from 16-20 days. So, that means inside this fertilized duck egg is an embryo that is about a week short of hatching. If you can stomach it enough to picture it, this far in the development process the embryo will have feathers and a beak. 

There you have it. Balut, a delicacy that has been a staple in the Filipino culture for more than 200 years, is an unhatched baby duck. Crazy? Maybe for some, but not so much in the Philippines where other popular foods consist of Kare-Kare (oxtail stew) and Kaldereta, another type of meaty stew soaked in liver sauce. 

How do you eat balut?


Those brave enough to take a balut vendor up on this Filipino delicacy will notice that the egg, when served, is warm. Balut is prepared similar to that of a hard-boiled egg except it is not cooled before serving. Instead, the fertilized duck egg is placed in boiling water for 20-30 minutes and eaten as soon as it reaches the right consistency. Perhaps that's so no one has time to think about what they're consuming and change their mind. 

Typically in the Philippines, balut is seasoned with either salt, vinegar or soy sauce, however if you venture to places such as Vietnam, you'll find a different way to spice things up. Here, balut, or if you remember in Vietnam it's called hot vit lon, is seasoned with salt, pepper and Vietnamese Coriander, an herb very similar in taste to cilantro. The seasonings come of course after the egg has been cracked and peeled open. Which one do you think would hide the fact that you're eating a fertilized duck egg more? 

Balut isn't over in one bite


For those with a desire to try balut, the full experience is actually a bit of a process. Nicole Ponseca is the owner of Maharlika, a Filippino restaurant in Manhattan's East Village, who gives quite a detailed breakdown of how someone would go about trying balut. 

The process starts with the egg and spoon. While holding the egg in one hand you'll give the shell a few hard hits with the bottom of the spoon until it cracks open. Once cracked, the top of the shell is removed and the broth that fills the egg is sipped to reveal two separate parts of the egg. On one side you'll see the yolk and the other the duck. Ponseca saves the duck for last, eating the whipped yolk first and taking the remainder down in one last bite. The whole process takes about a minute for someone who seemingly has done this many times before, but we're willing to bet it may take a bit longer for those trying it for the first time.

Balut kind of tastes like chicken


With all the parts of balut that come after the shell is cracked, it's not surprising that there would be different flavors one experiences from beginning to end. In a few different Reddit threads, the juice that comes once the egg is cracked seems to have a similar taste across the board. One member describes it as a meaty broth and the other as watery chicken broth. Part one seems pretty straight forward. After the juice, comes the egg yolk which has been described as "fluffy and creamy... pudding-like." Others have similar thoughts, saying it tastes "like custard." That part doesn't seem so bad, but what comes next might make your skin crawl.

When it comes to the texture of the actual duck, there seems to be mixed signals. While some say the meat is tender, dissolving in your mouth as it goes down, others beg to differ. Chef Kristine Subido remembers her distaste for balut while growing up in the Philippines. She shied away from it for more than 15 years before trying it again, saying, "there's a little bit of a crack and crunch when you're eating it." That crack and crunch is the beak, the feet, and the bones. Is your skin crawling now? 

Balut is the late night snack of choice

Don Emmert/Getty Images

Balut is to the Philippines what hot dogs are to America. You know, the stop you make at the cart on the corner after a late night out and put in an order for a hot dog with everything. Your mouth waters as you take that first bite. It may be hard to fathom, but when the sun goes down, balut vendors pop up along the crowded the streets just like hot dog carts. 

Walk around the streets at night in the Philippines and you'll hear the common shout out of the delicacy for those strolling by. Being high in protein and other essential nutrients, those in the Philippines find balut to be a cheap alternative to vitamins. After a long night out, it's their saving grace. "It's like a powerbar," says balut distributor Butch Coyoca, "people would eat one or two before they go to bed because they would believe that (balut) would compensate for whatever losses they incurred for not sleeping enough." How much do you think you'd need to drink before deciding balut is the best cure for lack of sleep? A hot dog sounds so much better.

Some say it's an aphrodisiac


If you're not convinced quite yet about the appeal of balut, this may seal the deal. Balut may be consumed by both men and women, however for women it's said to only be a source of energy and nutrition. Men have a little something else in mind when it comes to balut. Balut's high protein content and other nutritional additives not only give off energy, but also stirs up a lot of heat throughout the body, becoming a natural aphrodisiac. In fact, balut has been called the Filipino Viagra. 

To confirm, Butch Coyoca, a first general Filipino American and balut distributor says out of all that purchase balut from him, 60 perfect believe that it does increase sex drive in males. No wonder that 75 percent of his customers are males. Also not surprising that balut would be a late night snack option consumed after a night out, but before one goes back to the bedroom. 

Balut eating contests do exist


With all that we've learned so far, could you imagine joining with fellow balut lovers and downing dozens of balut in less than five minutes? If so, you'll want to catch a flight to the Northeast where balut eating contests are rising in popularity.

Put on by Filipino inspired restaurants Maharlika and Jeepney in Brooklyn, this New York City based balut eating contest has brought out some real balut loving competitors. Since this annual contest began it has seen an impressive 40 baluts eaten in five minutes. Another competition across the state lines took place at the Filipino American Festival in New Jersey where some contestants have been able to consume 20 baluts in as little as two minutes and 22 seconds. Could you be the next balut eating champion? You'll have to start practicing, there seems to be some seriously talented eaters out there.

Balut might cure a hangovers


Depending on how much you have to drink the night before, you may be desperate enough to see if the rumors are true. Locals in the Philippines turn to balut as a remedy to cure a hangover. Why, you ask? Well, the rationale behind this theory is that the yolk in balut contains the amino acid cysteine. Cysteine breaks down toxins in the liver and assists in eliminating them from your body. This can be helpful when you have had one drink too many, but it's not clear how many balut you'd have to stomach for the cure to take place.

Don't fret though if balut isn't readily available to you or you don't think you can handle balut as your hangover cure of choice. Cysteine can also be found in many other types of food including broccoli, cheese, oats, yogurt, red meat and garlic. So, if you were contemplating on whether or not to have than next drink, thankfully, you have options. 

Balut yolk is high in cholesterol


We've talked about balut being a high source of protein and many other essential nutrients, but one thing that is also high when it comes to balut is cholesterol. The yolk of one fertilized duck egg alone holds around 359 mg of cholesterol. That is 59mg more than the daily FDA recommended cholesterol intake of 300 mg.  

Since balut is mostly consumed as a snack, and one like potato chips where you can't eat just one, it wouldn't be hard for balut lover's cholesterol levels to surge. High cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the FDA also says that cholesterol is good for the body as is helps the liver produce the necessary fluids to aid in the digestion of fat. 

Finding a happy medium seems essential, but may be hard for those regular balut eaters. Since there are a total of four parts to balut, perhaps skipping the yolk every now and then is a good compromise. That still leaves three other parts to be enjoyed.

Westernization is decreasing the allure of balut


The once thriving balut industry is now struggling to stay afloat. Balut cart owners like Jessie Damsco are downsizing stores because demand is so low. Vendors who were selling 6,000 balut a day are now lucky if they sell 500. While the struggling industry can be linked to the pollution of river water in large duck breeding areas of the Philippines, some say that the demise of the balut industry is actually the effect of western influence on the Filippino palette. 

With the introduction of fast food restaurants such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, and many more into the Filipino culture, generations are being introduced to western culture very young. These types of restaurants are becoming a favorite among young Filipino children. If we know anything about fast food restaurants, it's that they are easily accessible. This makes it tough for small balut street vendors to compete with big chain fast food restaurants. As a child, if you had a choice between pizza or balut, what would you choose? 

There's been a festival celebrating balut for more than three decades


When it comes to finding the best quality balut, search no further than Pateros, a municipality within the Philippines. Pateros in fact is so well known for its production of balut that it has won the title of balut capital of the Philippines. No wonder that Pateros is home to the annual Balut sa Puti festival. Held on the 31st of January each year, Pateros has been hosting this festival for more than three decades. 

During the Balut sa Puti festival the best balut makers from all around the Philippines show off the quality of this local delicacy. Festival goers will experience live music and cooking competitions as well as having the honor of tasting what Pateros considers the best balut in the world. With the western influence affecting the Filipino palette, the department of tourism is hoping that building up this annual festival will bring a revival to the balut industry.

Balut can be found on reality TV

The TV show Survivor that pits competitors against each other in order to deem one the show's sole survivor has had its share of intense challenges since its inception. Since its start, challengers were forced to eat pig brains, tarantulas, scorpions and, you guessed it — balut.

While some Survivor fans would be happy to take on the delicacy challenge, one fan saying balut is "one of Cambodian faves snack. It tastes yummy," the show's host, Jeff Probst doesn't share the same excitement. When asked what he would consider the most disgusting challenge dish of all time, without pause balut was the answer. "Those little heads, that tiny body, those light feathers," he says. "And the craziest part of all, those are sold in Asian supermarkets in the same manner we sell potato chips." Probst clearly makes a better host than competitor as some survivors were able to complete the challenge. A small feat for what could potentially win you a $1 million prize.


Egg shells in the diet of chickens, hens and broilers - how to give

/ 09 Mar 2021 at 13:36

Heading: Keeping chickens

Good afternoon, experienced and novice poultry farmers! Egg shells in the diet of chickens, laying hens and broilers must be present. The eggshell contains a large amount of minerals that chickens need for development and good egg production.

Approximately 9/10 of its composition is calcium, easily absorbed by birds, and the rest is P, Ft, Mg, Cu, Zn and a number of other minerals. nine0013

Therefore, eggshells must be included in the composition of mash or crushed eggs for young chicks and laying hens.

Contents of the article:

  • 1 Should chickens be given shells or not
  • 2 Eggshells in the diet of chickens and chickens - benefits
  • 3
    • 4.1 Choosing the most modern incubators

Should chickens be shelled or not

Experienced poultry farmers recommend that egg shells be added to the diet of chickens as a source of well-assimilated calcium, in contrast to that obtained from crushed shell rock or chalk.

Normally, the shells of all eggs used for food, as well as those left after hatching of chicks in nests or incubators, are added to the feed.

Egg shells in the diet of chickens and chickens - benefits

The main benefit of this product for chickens is its high content of calcium, which is the basis of bone tissue. If it is not enough, then the bones and skeleton of the chicks will be fragile, which will lead to permanent injuries. nine0003

Also, a sufficient amount of this mineral prevents the development of rickets in young animals, normalizes the functioning of the heart, nervous and muscular systems. Also, this mineral normalizes bowel function.

It is also important for laying hens to have calcium in the body, otherwise the eggs they lay will have soft shells, and in especially severe cases, they may be completely absent.

Other mineral substances that make up the egg shell are also needed for the normal development of the musculoskeletal system, contribute to better absorption of calcium by the body of these birds. nine0003

Usually crushed egg shells are added to mash or other feeds given to birds.

Egg shells for chicks - when and how to give

This product is introduced into the daily menu of chicks from the 10th day of their life. It is not recommended to give such a solid product in the past, as the gastrointestinal tract of newborn chicks is still too tender to digest hard pieces of egg shell.

But you can add shells from boiled eggs to chicken food, grinding them to flour.

How do you give eggshells to chickens?

The dose of such a substance directly depends on the breed and age of the birds. Crosses grown for meat require more calcium during the development period, since their musculoskeletal system must be very strong - after all, the mass of such birds is growing rapidly.

Before feeding the chicken shell, it must be crushed. If a bird pecks at whole shells, then it will peck eggs in the future.

Egg shells are first washed and dried. Then it needs to be crushed, poured onto a baking sheet and kept in the oven at a temperature of 180 degrees for half an hour. nine0003

Such procedures allow the egg shell to be stored longer and pathogens are destroyed.

Egg shells for laying hens and broilers

In the summer, 3.5 g of crushed shells for each female are introduced into the daily diet of pullets. In winter, the bird is given 5-10 g of such a substance.

This egg flour can be added to mixers or grain mixes. But you can mix eggshells with shell rock or chalk.

Young animals begin to introduce such a product from 10 days. For one head, only a gram of crushed shell is required. By 30 days, the dose of this substance should be 1.5 g. But from the age of 4 months, young animals are given the same amount of shells as adult chickens. nine0003

Egg shells for broilers.

From the age of 10, the chicks of this breed are given 10 g each. After 15 days, the norm of eggshell for each head is 20 g. And from 30 days, birds are given 30 g of this substance.

Egg shells are very important for chicks, laying hens and broilers! Due to the high concentration of calcium and a number of other minerals in it. Therefore, it must be included in the daily menu of poultry. nine0003

Good luck!

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See you, colleagues! In the meantime, we will prepare new and interesting information for you!

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Choosing the Most Advanced Incubators

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