Feasting on Fetus: 5 Steps to Eating Balut

By Mark Wiens 39 Comments

Over a week had passed since my arrival in Manila, the Philippines, and I had eaten countless plates of Bicol Express, pork and chicken adobo, and deep fried “1 day old chickens.”

There was however one notoriously weird, some call nasty, but nevertheless popular Filipino foods that I had not indulged in, and I needed to.  This “treat with feet,” or “eggs with legs,” was featured as an eating contest on Fear Factor where they called it gross.

It often makes the top list of strange or weird foods from around the world and cracked.com rated it as the number one most terrifying foods in the world.

Yes, it was about time for Migration Mark to consume the famous boiled, fertilized duck or chicken egg including the semi developed, feathery and leathery fetus, known simply as “Balut.”

It didn’t take more than 2 minutes to locate a balut seller across the street who was proudly serving up his boiled eggs.  The vendor opened up his chest, pulled out three tame looking eggs and handed them to us.

Eating balut should be one of the top entertaining things to do in Manila.

Balut in the Philippines

Though it was my debut occasion, I quickly figured out that there are really only five simple steps to eating balut.

  1. Peel a small hole at the top.
  2. Drink the chicken soup from the hole.
  3. Peel the rest of the egg.
  4. Eat the yolk and egg white.
  5. Save the best for last, the feathery, wrinkled, duck fetus.

It’s really quite a simple process.

Peeling a balut in the Philippines

For a moment I felt like I was committing an abortion, but I got over that real fast.

Balut in the Philippines
My favorite part of eating balut

Despite what many say, Balut is really not as bad as it sounds or as bad as some make it out to be.  I wouldn’t say I would jump at the chance to eat balut, however I would gladly partake in the right situation with little hesitation.

With the aid of a large amount of chili sauce and any form of carbonated beverage the little duck fetus’s can be quite enjoyable.

The aftermath eating balut

Nobody should be allowed to leave the Philippines without a few gastronomic balut’s.

Local Filipinos also love it when you love balut.

39 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • vishal kaushik

    2 years ago

    Wow! I’m glad you took my advice. I just had one balut tonight.

  • Zwazzi Sowo

    2 years ago

    Thank you for your detailed information.
    I love balut!!!
    How do I prepare the egg white in balut, to eat it? It is hard and rubbery.

  • Sanjana

    3 years ago

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  • Dina

    12 years ago

    Hi Mark! I tried balut kwek-kwek style yesterday (the one deep fried in orange batter), and i quite like the taste. Like chicken liver and crab’s egg. The yolk was the ebst yolk i’ve had. But every single time I saw the feather, I gagged! (it was 18 days balut). In the end, I chewed the feather too. I was surprised it was chewable, and didn’t stuck on my throat!

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Haha! Thanks for sharing Dina! Not too bad yah?? Those orange deep fried baby chickens were pretty tasty, especially with the sauce!

  • Brooke vs. the World

    13 years ago

    That. is. gross. I like chicken and I like eggs, but I don’t like to see what I’m eating looking like the real thing. Ack.

    • Mark Wiens

      13 years ago

      haha Brooke, You just need to not think about it too hard, dip it in the vinaigarette chili sauce and get it down!!!

  • rich suterfield

    14 years ago

    I have been to Philippines three time, have not tried it yet, where I was at the beach the embryo was mixed with some cream or milk or something I think, everbody was eating Balut like it was going out of style, my wife is Philipina and she loves it. I promise I will try it next trip, but i will close my eyes!

  • Stacey

    14 years ago

    Hi, This post is awesome and if it’s all right I’d like to use your photos for my blog. I’m glad you tried it and explained that it wasn’t as bad or horrifying as people make it out to be. It’s another cultures delicacy and they enjoy it. I mean it’s basically a smaller version of eating pekking duck or roasted chicken! Thanks again! And enjoy your travels!

    Here’s my Balut post with Video: http://lakbai.com/2010/03/21/eating-balut-a-small-delight-after-a-pac-fight/

    • Mark Wiens

      14 years ago

      Hey Stacey,
      No problem, and thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. Balut is really not bad at all! It is a lovely protein filled snack.

  • Hayden

    14 years ago

    I recommend a shot of tequila as step #1… it would have made my balut experience better!

    • Mark Wiens

      14 years ago

      Hayden, that is a great recommendation. It might also kill the gnarly germs that could potentially be in or on the balut!

  • Lornadahl

    14 years ago

    @Melvin, you’ve got to try balut! Where’s your sense of adventure? :))) You MUST also try abuos (ant’s eggs) in Ilocos.

    Ahhh sisig. The best beer mate ever!

  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    @Jen I’m expecting a video of you eating the fetus. Sisig is delicious, the high grease content really makes it slide down easily.

    @Amy You should take the whole family for a Balut Fetus adventure.

    @Glady Thank you for the great advice indeed. We will have a couple rounds when I come to Bacolod City.

  • Glady

    14 years ago

    Wow! I’m glad you took my advice. I just had one balut tonight. 😀

  • Amy @ The Q Family

    14 years ago

    My ILs love Barut and they even served that on one of their birthday. But as much as I want to say I can eat anything, I don’t think I can do the balut. My husband who is Filipino won’t even want to see it. 🙂

  • jen laceda

    14 years ago

    Want to hear a weird story? I was born in the Philippines and I can only eat the soup and the yolk part of balut. My husband, who’s also Filipino but born & raised in Canada, has more balls (pun intended?) eating those fetuses. I haven’t had a chix fetus in my life. I just can’t. Maybe one of these days I will challenge myself to taste the fetus and take a video of me eating it.
    Hey, how do you like sisig?

  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    Haha, thanks for the comments guys.

    @A Jung- I’ve had balut a couple times now and like durian I do grab some gum or a breath mint afterwards.

    @Melvin- if you come to the Philippines I insist that you give it a try.

    @Anil- It’s really not too bad, just like a regular hard boiled egg with a surprise at the end.

    @Kat- We should eat some 1 day olds, or other Filipino delicacies together!

  • Kat

    14 years ago

    There is such a thing as “balut sa puti,” the difference is the chick is smaller and easier to eat. The yellow part is bigger too.

  • Anil

    14 years ago

    I missed out when I was here but will go for it next time. I hope I can overcome my gag reflex..

  • Melvin

    14 years ago

    puuh! I think I wouldn’t be able to eat it. I tried grasshoppers once, which was easy if not boring… but no way for me to eat balut or 1 day old chicken (not enought meat on it)… 😉

  • A Jung

    14 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    I would pass up eating balut for some lumpia or chicken adobo. You need some comfort food after the “will I survive after eating this kind of delicacies”. Love ya!

  • Kat

    14 years ago

    I’m one of the rare Filipinos who don’t really eat balut haha. But I do like the 1 day old 🙂