Balut: boiling ducks alive

Have you ever tried eating a whole duck? Eyes, legs, bones, feathers, and everything?

Balut is that.

Balut (also spelled as balot) is a Filipino term for a fertilized developing egg embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It is commonly sold as street food in China and other Southeast Asian countries.


Origin of balut egg

The Chinese are said to have introduced this delicacy in 1885 in the island nation of Philippines. Called maodan in the Chinese language, which roughly translates to ‘hairy egg’, the taste of balut quickly spread to other Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, which began preparing, eating and selling this midnight snack in very large numbers. Balut, which means ‘wrapped’, is generally prepared from duck’s eggs and is not only a healthy and nutritious item of food, but is also considered to be a great aphrodisiac by the locals. A quick look inside the shelled delicacy could be a bit revolting to many; but what is it that actually goes into its preparation that has placed balut on the list of one of the strangest and most disgusting food items in the world?


I don’t care! All I know is I hated how it tasted. The thought that I’m eating a whole body of a baby duck made me puke. And top of all that, I hate the idea that they’re boiling the bird alive on its shell.

Sorry mga kababayan ko, 🙁 (transl: my fellow countrymen) this not my proudest moment of our food.

The reaction of this man in the video below is pretty much how I reacted when I first (and last) tried it when I was 9 years old.

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17 thoughts on “Balut: boiling ducks alive

  1. when i was in the navy and my tour of duty was with the marines, i spent several months in the Philippines. mostly in subic bay, but other places in the islands too. i had an interesting time while in the phillippines and that was where i was introduced to this “food” no i did not try it for i found the thought pretty disgusting. the Filipinos who tried to get me to eat it, laughed and were not offended by my refusal. loli have eaten some strange things in my life, but i do have a limit. lol

    1. Most Filipinos won’t take offense if you refuse it or even call it disgusting, because there’s a lot of us who hates it too 😂

  2. It does not matter where we come from there are always some tradition still hold on to such food.
    But, since I was a kid I detest eating something disgusting and my parents never force me to eat what I do not.
    I merely just back off politely and saying not much unless if I feel being assault or receiving insults of some sort.
    We, humans, are strange creature with the ability to turn as cannibals.
    Even until today some cannibals still do exist.

    1. Respect for your parents for not forcing you. So true, even countries known for gourmet food have meals that can turn our stomachs upside down. My issue with balut, however, is how it’s made. I prefer the animal to have a quick death if I were to eat them.
      And so gosh, yes, I agree, humans are strange creatures. I saw a documentary about cannibalism in modern time not long ago and that was a nightmare 😰

  3. That is one disgusting looking item of food. That guy was pretty brave to eat it, and not once but twice. But I notice he declined it a third time. I hope the duck doesn’t suffer while being boiled alive. I have a fondness for ducks.

    1. It’s pretty hard not to be fond of ducks… and yes, he was braver than me. I ate one before because I was starving after a whole day of only water, but it wasn’t a pleasant memory.

    1. We probably can never truly guess why, but many people (my family back in the country) thinks it’s delicious 🤢

    1. My thoughts exactly. I encountered more cruel things and though I hate them, I think sharing brings awareness at less…

  4. I’m with you, Jessica.

    I wouldn’t eat a boiled baby duck inside an egg where it was boiled alive.

    I rather like ducks.

    Particularly baby ducks.

    So I wouldn’t do such a thing.

    And I think I would puke too if I saw this dish let alone ate it.

    1. Yes, it’s too horrible to imagine how it is for that baby duck 😢 I really like them too

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