Published in Washington City Paper
The Dish: Balut
Where to Get It: Filipino Home Baking & Grocery, 11222 Triangle Lane, Wheaton; (301) 942-2800
Price: $1.29 each
What It Is: A duck egg with a visible 16- to 21-day-old embryo inside—wings, beak, and all. A good balut has four parts: the white, the yolk, the amniotic fluid, and the embryo itself. At Filipino Home Baking & Grocery, the eggs are sold fresh and need to be simmered for 25 to 30 minutes before eating.
What It Tastes Like: Better than it looks—kind of like a hard-boiled egg, but wetter. The baby duck is nearly gelatinous, and after 30 minutes of cooking, your house will smell like sulfur and chicken soup.
History of the Dish: We’ll never know who first thought to eat balut, but it’s now a common street food in the Philippines and parts of Southeast Asia, seasoned with a little salt or soy sauce, and washed down with an ice-cold brew. Despite its creepy appearance, balut is more nutritious than any chicken egg and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Some even consider it an aphrodisiac.
How to Eat It: Crack the shell, peel it back, slurp the liquid, then take a bite. Beer chaser optional.
Photos by Mary Kong-DeVito