Balut a Filipino delicacy, and a favorite of Batangueños is one of the small scale or backyard industries of Batangas. Commonly peddled at the town proper and the main thoroughfares in cities and towns around the province.
First of all, what is Balut?
It is an incubated egg of a Mallard duck, with a nearly developed embryo of 17 days. Boiled and eaten with morsels of salt, or to some batangueños, especially the mangbabarek, (heavy drinkers) they prefer it with vinegar with siling labuyo (red chili pepper).
How do you make or process balut?
The fertilized duckling eggs are stored warm in baskets for nine days. At the ninth day, they are inspected in front of light bulb to expose the embryo within. Upon a quick assessment of the eggs and if not properly developed it is sold as penoy. While the well developed eggs will have to wait for at least eight more days for them to be cooked.
Sold by balut vendors in woven basket covered with thick fabric to keep the eggs warm. They usually move by foot, shouting every now and then "baluuuuuut". Or they can be seen stationary in strategic spots.
The batangueños tag the balut as an aphrodisiac and can boost one's libido. This is one of the main reasons why it is a favorite pulutan (appetizer taken with alcoholic beverages) in drinking sessions.
According to a study, the duck eggs are good source of protein, calories, minerals, Vitamin B1 and B2, beta-carotene and other supplements. It can definitely increase a person's vitality.
Here in Batangas, most of the duck egg producers are found in the lakeside of Taal Lake. According to a balut producer, the best balut is the 16 days incubation period and should not go beyond the 17th day. Often called the balut na puti (The chick is still in an unnoticed form).
However, extending the incubation period to 19 days or more, the chick is old enough to show its beak, feathers and bones. At this state, the chick is old enough and perceptible to a baby duck. I personally do not recommend this kind of balut for you to try.
Are you starting to get hungry? Or am I starting to have a turned – off reader?
Well, one can only purchase a balut at nighttime till dawn. This could be the reason that the egg should be eaten with dim lights or no light at all. For you not to see what you are really eating.
Everything inside the shell is eaten. Including the broth except for the white stone, which is a bit hard to chew and tasteless. Although some will consume everything found in the egg.
I'm sure you will love it. And you would ask for another one as soon as you have tasted it. Just eat it straight and don't think of any strange things, wondering all over your mind. This is what I did when I first tasted the duckling egg.
First of all, the balut is a cooked food. And I'm sure you have been to a Japanese restaurant and had sushi and sashimi!