What Is a Balut?

A balut is a fertilized duck egg. It is one of many delicacies in the Philippines. The egg is made up of four parts: the soup, egg white, yolk, and baby duck. Sold by street vendors, the snack is a favorite among Filipinos.

Street vendor Edgardo Hamodio sells baluts for 17 Philippine pesos, which is the equivalent of about 35 cents. “I sell around 40 baluts a day,” he said.

Hamodio gets the duck eggs from Pateros, a city in Metropolitan Manila. Pateros is known as “The Balut Capital” because of its duck-raising industry.



Before eating a balut, you should boil or steam it for about 20 to 30 minutes. Once it is cooked, crack open the tip immediately and sip the soup. Then peel half of the egg, and scoop out the contents.

Put aside the egg white, which is too hard to eat. Sprinkle salt or vinegar on the yolk, and eat that. Personally, I prefer salt. Finally, sprinkle salt on the embryo, and eat it. 


Colin gets ready to show kids how to eat a balut. 


The look of the dish is not very appetizing. As a result, it’s sold at night so that buyers don’t have to see the duckling. Hamodio starts selling balut late in the afternoon.

The delicacy has many health benefits. “People can get protein out of it,” says Marlon Ahorra, a local chef. “It’s also said in Filipino culture: ‘Pampalakas ito ng tuhod.’” In English, that means, “It strengthens the knee.”


Colin learns more about the balut from street vendor Edgardo Hamodio. 


Photos courtesy of the author