Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Balut

Every culture has a few dishes that might give non-natives pause. Americans' beloved Cheez Whiz has been known to baffle foreigners. Stinky tofu from China can be quite polarizing (but are among the list of bizarre foods you really should try in your life). In the Philippines, a culinary specialty that many non-Filipino diners find challenging is balut, a hard-boiled egg that houses a duck embryo. The fertilized duck egg, considered a delicacy not just in the Philippines but in other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, gets its name from the Tagalog phrase "balut sa puti," or "wrapped in white" (via Gastro Obscura).

Balut is a common street food in the Philippines, where it is typically served warm after being boiled for 20 to 30 minutes and seasoned with salt, vinegar, or soy sauce, but you can find it in the U.S. at farmers markets, according to Modern Farmer, and Asian grocery stores, online, and even on the menu at some restaurants such as Maharlika in New York City (via Business Insider).

People eat balut because they find it tasty

Balut is worth trying because despite its unappetizing visuals, many find it delicious. In an interview with NBC News, Wayne Algenio, a Filipino-American competitive eater who has won the Annual Balut Eating Contest in New York City three times, said that balut is comparable to a regular boiled egg and admitted that while the look of balut is "definitely not appealing," it just tastes like a "chicken egg on steroids" to him.

According to The Takeout, balut should be more than an "exotic adventure" because it's genuinely yummy. The egg contains a clear broth "so savory that there are people who only drink that and leave the rest of the egg." The publication also described the experience of eating balut as pleasant as long as you have a good egg. A "good balut yolk has a soft texture not unlike cream cheese" that is "not as sulfurous as regular hard-boiled chicken eggs." And a truly good balut has a milder flavor with a tender embryo that "dissolves in your mouth, almost like a mousse."

Eating balut can be good for your health

Another reason people eat balut is for its health benefits. SFGate reported that balut eggs are an inexpensive and readily available source of protein throughout Southeast Asia and "packed with vitamin C and beta carotene, both of which powerful antioxidants that help clean free radicals from your bloodstream and support your immune system." According to the publication, balut also contains niacin, riboflavin and thiamine, all of which aid the metabolism of energy.

In fact, because of the nutritious qualities of balut, Filipino parents consider it to be a superfood that is good for the brain. One egg boasts 188 calories, 13.7 grams of protein, 14.2 grams of fat, 116 milligrams of calcium, and 2.1 milligrams of iron.

Balut may also help you in the bedroom. In the Philippines, men use it as an aphrodisiac and think of it as an "equivalent of Viagra" because of its high protein content and its ability to boost energy and stir up desire (via Insider). Whether you want to taste a new delicacy or ramp up your diet with something healthy, balut is worth trying.