This savory-looking meal is a balut. It is nothing more than a fertilized duck embryo boiled while alive, and then eaten from its shell.
If this looks like it among the bizarre things to eat, perhaps it will be more appealing to know that it is believed to be an aphrodisiac. It’s naturally high in protein, and offered for you to enjoy in parts of Southeast Asia. It is commonly sold on the streets by vendors. In the Philippines, you can hear the vendor yelling, “Balut, balut”, until a customer arrives.
It is popular in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam. It is often served with a beer. By the looks of it, perhaps it’s best to try after several beers. Balut means “wrapped” in Tagalog and Malay languages.
Filipinos prefer eating balut with salt, pepper, with a chili and vinegar mixture. Ideally, they eat it when 17 days old, before the beak, bones, and feathers form. In certain countries, however, they “love that crunch”, and devour it a few days later, when the bones are just forming.
In the Philippines, where it is especially popular, the egg shell is tapped to make a hole. Then, the delicious embryonic fluid is sucked out before peeling away the shell, and going for the prized main course, the duck embryo itself. All the contents can be eaten, although the white is sometimes passed up.