Balut is an egg.
Actually it’s a chicken.
No – it’s both.
A chicken inside the egg.
A chicken that isn’t yet ready to hatch. An egg that has matured beyond the egg stage and the chick has begun to take form.
In the Philipines this is a delicacy. The balut vendor comes selling at your door step just around dawn – shuting ‘Balut, Balut’ as he walks through the streets.
A fertilised egg takes 45 days to hatch. Balut is ready to be eaten from the 7th day onwards and is usually eaten well before hatching to avoid developed fathers. But some grandfathers enjoy eating it at even in its last stage before it hatches. Served with salt and vinegar, as a beer or wine accompaniment it is said to be good for strengthening our leg joints.
I grew up as a vegetarian and can now eat most meats. But Balut is and will remain beyond the adventures that my palate can bear. My mental blocks are ingrained too deeply. Just as I can’t eat raw red meats in Sashimi or fried insects or even squid that my kids love, I will not be able to put this into my mouth.
But people love this. And I am fascinated by the idea – so I recorded the event when my fantastic household manager shelled one to eat it for a snack!