Balut (16 Days)

This is Balut (16 Days). It’s simple really. Its just a duck egg, with an intriguing little surprise inside. Considered a controversy to some, kind of a soul food for others. The name “balut” can bring back found memories or an overwhelming feeling of complete horror depending on your perspective. Honestly, I totally get it. This is not for everybody, especially the squeamish.Spoiler alert! That little surprise inside the egg is a partially developed duck embryo. If you think about it for too long, and even veteran balut consumers would hesitate a little bit to take another bite. That said. If you like it, you know what’s up. This is the perfect snack for when you’re hanging out, having a few drinks with friends or family while sitting around talking and singing karaoke.

In the Philippines, you will find street food vendors selling balut in very many places throughout the entire country. Like practically everywhere. It is that common. Approach one of these vendors and you will likely find a variety of differently aged embryos. The difference is specified in the number of days that the embryo has developed. The more days, the larger the embryo.

Understandably, most people prefer their balut with the least number of days possible, but some brave souls say “the older the better”. The process of producing the fertilized eggs for balut is actually a very complex one. Think of it as a shorter incubation process for any other bird eggs. It actually takes several days. The eggs are simply not developed to the point where they would hatch.

For this piece, we go over the simple preparation of the raw duck eggs that have already been correctly developed and aged. Perhaps later we will cover the traditional methods of preparing the raw duck eggs for balut. The way they do it in the streets is really very interesting. For now, grab some duck eggs and a beer, and lets make some balut while the night is young.

Enjoy this recipe from all of us at Filipino Chow.


  • 2 duck eggs, raw/uncooked with embryos at 16 days of development or less
  • 1/2 of a small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of cane vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Start by placing a small pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add enough water to the pot to cover the duck eggs once they are placed inside.
  3. Let this heat up until the water starts to boil.
  4. Using tongs, carefully pick up the duck eggs and slowly lower them into the boiling water.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  6. Let this cook for at least 30 minutes.
  7. When it is almost done cooking, combine the vinegar and onion in a small bowl.
  8. Carefully remove the duck eggs from the boiling water with the tongs then set them aside to cool.
  9. Let the duck eggs rest until they are cool enough to handle.
  10. Now take an egg and crack it open just a little bit while holding it upright.
  11. Pour the liquid contents of the duck egg into the bowl with the vinegar and onions.
  12. Remove the rest of the egg shell and place the balut in the bowl.
  13. Repeat the previous step with the remaining egg(s).
  14. Season the duck eggs with your preference of salt or pepper.
  15. Serve immediately, while its still warm.

The vinegar sauce is optional, as are the other seasonings. Many people prefer to just crack the egg open and eat it right out of the shell with nothing else. That's fine by me too. I don't judge. Do whatever you are comfortable with.


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