Balut is one of the most famous exotic foods the Filipinos are known for. A “balut” is a fertilized embryo of a duck that is usually boiled alive and must be eaten in its shell. The ballot vendors prefer to peddle it at night because it is known to be an aphrodisiac according to some locals. Vendors sell this together with their “chicharon”, which is pork skin or fat, thinly sliced and deep-fried until it crisp.
“Pateros Itik” or the Mallard duck is where the balut came from according to duck farmers in the Philippines. Their eggs can be processed also to salted eggs or “itlog na pula”, which is one of the specialty foods in Pateros. Balut is a Filipino delicacy, which commands a good price for manufacturing. Because of the size of the mallard duck’s egg, which is bigger than the ordinary egg of chicken, it is also best to use in Leche Flan or Egg Custard.
According to a traditional balut-maker, which is Ti Sencia, the best balut she can really recommend is the one they call “balut sa puti”. It is made by incubating the mallard eggs from 16 to 17 days only. Going beyond 17 days, according to Ti Sencia, will still be okay; however, the “sisiw” by that time is too large already. To some locals, they do not care, the bigger the “sisiw, the better”! The thickness of the shell is also important in processing and handling the salted eggs and “balut”
Pateros Municipality considers their Balut-making industry as one of their major tourist attraction. Its legacy has been passed on from generation to generation and was able to make a share of about 23.0% in the industry of Pateros. Specifically, in Barangay Aguho, Pateros where the balut makers and vendors can be seen.
Filipinos love to eat this with salt and pepper alone; however, it is best also in chili and vinegar mixture. Recently in the Philippines, balut has become haute cuisine in which it is already being served in restaurants as appetizers.
- 7 balut, shelled (or as many as you like)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Ground black pepper
- Simmer garlic, soy sauce and vinegar for 1 minute in a pan (choose a pan big enough to let the balut stay in one layer, so that the sauce can stay in contact with all the balut)
- Add the balut, which is already shelled but make sure to include the juice
- Season with pepper
- Let the sauce coat all the balut by swirling the pan carefully
- DO NOT stir because it you might break the balut
- Continue swirling and simmering for another minute
- Turn the heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes
- Before serving, swirl it again
- Best served with garlic rice