A closeup of a cracked balut.
What Is Balut And How Did It Become A Popular Street Food?
Each culture has its own unique way of preparing and eating eggs, and in the Philippines, the street food delicacy, balut, remains one of the most preferred ways of eating an egg.
Named after the Tagalog phrase balut sa puti, meaning "wrapped in white," balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been incubated for roughly 18 days.
The two-and-a-half-week incubation period allows the duck embryo to develop, meaning there is a partially formed bird encased inside a cocoon of white layer within the egg.
While balut is very much a Filipino delicacy, its roots lie in China, as it’s thought to be a distant cousin of Chinese century eggs and salted eggs.
Balut's popularity in the Philippines began sometime after Chinese traders settled on the banks of Laguna de Bay — a region that was home to Mallard ducks.
Today, balut holds an important place in Filipino culture, especially as a late-night street food. It is an affordable and nutritious source of sustenance after dusk.
Perhaps balut's most significant benefit in Filipino culture is its alleged aphrodisiac properties. The eggs are enjoyed with alcohol and are rumored to help with hangovers.