Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fear Factor FSI: Balut

At FSI, our language courses are not limited to teaching us how to communicate--they are cultural experiences. In today's Tagalog class we had the opportunity to experience a Southeast Asian delicacy: balut. Americans with weak stomachs should probably stop reading now, especially if you plan on eating an omelet for dinner. However, if you're curious, please continue.

In the Philippines, balut is a fertilized duck egg with a partially developed embryo inside. Balut is commonly eaten as bar food, and is reputed to go well with cervesa. The larger eggs in the picture above are duck eggs, which I graciously surrendered to my classmates. I had the pleasure of experiencing a chicken egg balut.

It looks innocent, doesn't it?

First you crack open the shell like a hard-boiled egg and drink the "broth." I do not recommend smelling it beforehand.

You're not supposed to eat the egg white--it's gross.

You eat the yolk with a fork, and shoot the chick (like a shot of liquor). It is not recommended that you look at the embryo, but I did anyway.


No, I didn't have the courage to taste any part of this delicacy. The above picture of a thoroughly enjoyed balut must be credited to one of my classmates.

To those Spanish classes who taste the wines of South America, THIS is a cultural experience. It's also a good way to lose weight, as I didn't eat any of my snacks this morning. I am very glad that I didn't pack my usual egg salad sandwich for lunch.

If you'd like to see a funny video of a Filipino giving instructions on how to eat balut, please click here. It's highly entertaining, but again, not for weak stomachs.


  1. DUDE. I really thought we were going to watch that Philipino kid vomit. When they say "delicacy," is that supposed to be synonomous with "vomit-inducing?" (Although I have to admit, I would have been really curious to see anyone do the "sesew" as a shot.)

  2. Haaaahahahahahaaa. My mom says she loved balut as a kid, but now she's too Americanized to stomach the thought of eating it again (they came over when she was eight). Personally, I've never tried it. Filipino food is more than lumpia, pancit and chicken adobo!

  3. Dianne, you guys should have given me a call. I would hav abandoned French class for some ballot. This was our snack of choice when we went on long bus rides in the Philippines. Also, Balut is usually eaten in the dark while drinking beer. And never on a plate with a fork for reason you are probably very aware of right now. Beat not to look at Balot while you eat it.

  4. It's Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up - and you're on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


  5. Uh, no.

    Just: NO.

    I basically dare someone to try to make me eat something like that if I ever get into a language class. You are amazing.

    ::bowing to your amazingness::