Balut beckons the brave. Popular in the Philippines — as well as Vietnam — this is not one for the faint of heart. It is a developing bird embryo that is boiled and eaten direct from the shell. The bird in question tends to be duck, although other species are sometimes used. Sold at markets and street food stalls, local people love Balut. For travelling foodies, however, this presents quite a challenge.
The eggs are incubated for between 14 and 21 days and the embryo inside has recognisable features once opened. It is eaten, bones, beak and all — these soft enough at this stage to be chewed and swallowed. Reckon you could keep this down? We’re not so sure.
Balut was introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese in 1885 and has gone on to prove popular during the subsequent period. This is a weird food that raises certain ethical issues, whilst the taste and general appearance mean it’s one that only calls to the most courageous.