Filipino Cuisine: My Favourite Oxymoron

It’s been almost a bloody month since I posted anything here and that is absolutely not on. Going forward, I’ll aim for one post every Sunday, unless something more important like beer gets in the way. To be fair, I’d intended to publish a post on the night of my birthday (thanks to everyone who wished me well and to those of you who didn’t, bollocks), but my laptop randomly died – something which is extremely inconvenient when you live on a small island in the Philippines.

Thankfully, I’m now back online and guess I should start by briefly talking about my wife Jaquilene being pregnant again. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will have probably seen the positive pregnancy test I posted on Valentine’s Day – what more could a girl ask for!? Flowers, chocolates, a spa break maybe…

It’s still early days but I reckon she’s due to drop around early October. We can review that estimate nearer the time though. So the next seven months or so is going to be spent arguing with her about names. She’ll want something bizarre and I’ll want something more traditional. Let’s see who will win…

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Anyway, back to today’s post and it’s going to be a cracker! Well it is if you like watching people eat weird food – although I’m not sure that you could call balut food.

You see, here in the Philippines, balut is one of their favourite street meals and a guy even walks past our house every afternoon selling it. Luckily, my wife doesn’t always hear him calling from the road.

So what is balut?

Well it’s basically a fertilised duck egg that has an embryo growing inside it and, if Filipinos didn’t boil the shit out of it and eat it, it would hatch into a cute little duckling. But that’s far too quaint for the Philippines and so being hard boiled and then eaten is usually the fate of little Daffy.

I find balut pretty gross, but the ritual way in which Filipinos eat it, including my wife, is something to behold in itself. That’s why I bought a few the other day and photographed my wife eating them. And, as a special bonus, I treated her to some chicken intestines, pig intestines, a chicken’s foot and last but by no means least a chicken’s head – yes a frigging barbecued chicken’s head on a stick!

Here’s how her Harvester-esque platter looked that afternoon:

Jaquilene-PlatterNow the thing with balut, which is the main focus of this post, is that it’s totally unnecessary. I mean how can you actually enjoy eating a duck foetus? Not only that, but the rest of the egg that surrounds it is yellow and veiny!

Nevertheless, eat it they do and they love it!

You start by cracking the top off the egg and drinking the ‘soup’, which I’m guessing is like some kind of amniotic fluid. What you’re left with after supping that down is the most horrific looking boiled egg you’ve ever seen:

Balut1My wife likes to eat the foetus first – who wouldn’t!? Although I’ve been told by her that the ones I bought last week didn’t have particularly big foetuses. She was rather disappointed that they lacked feathers and the bones weren’t even crunchy – no pleasing some people!

I thought they looked alright myself:

Balut3I’ll remember next time I buy some to ask how old they are and reject them if they’re still too young…

Balut2The balut I bought cost me 13 pesos each, which is about 8p at the current exchange rate. Pretty reasonable for all the stuff that’s inside them. In fact, they’re much cheaper than a Kinder Egg and just as fun.

They’re certainly better value than the chicken feet I bought. I mean how much can you actually eat on a chicken’s foot?

ChickenFootOr if you’re not a fan of chicken feet then how about their guts?


Sometimes, my wife tells me that the above snack tastes bitter. My reply is always “I’m not surprised!” After all, it has spent its whole life full of chicken shit.

All in all my wife was very pleased with the variety platter I bought her. You need to remember that she didn’t just eat it for the purpose of this post, but because she genuinely enjoys it.

And all this is before she starts getting weird cravings. I can’t even begin to imagine what she could ask for when they start…

1 thought on “Filipino Cuisine: My Favourite Oxymoron”

  1. You will be more surprised if you visit Thailand. Balut is not unique to the Philippines. Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have balut too. And of course they eat foods which you would find a little gruesome compared to the snacks you mentioned.

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