Category Archives: Philippines

Balut: would you eat Duck Embryo?

People really eat Duck Embryo??

They eat duck embryo called Balut in the Philippines, and it might be the only food I refused during my entire trip through Asia.

When I’m traveling, I always want to sample the local food, and I’ll try almost everything. What does that include? I’ve tried guinea pigs (cuy!) in Peru. I’ve eaten grasshoppers and scorpions in Thailand. I ate just about every organ or body party of a cow, duck, or chicken that you can think of in mainland China, including duck intestine, pig brain. Where do I draw the line?  The Philippines’ Balut egg – duck fetus. Duck embryo is not for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to try eating a Fetal Duck Egg.

What is Balut?

Balut egg is a fertilized duck embryo – the embryo is allowed to grow and mature for about 17 days until it is quite clearly a baby duck. That’s right. A baby duck, with all its baby duck parts stuffed into a shell with the yolk and egg white, now crisscrossed with blood vessels and feather-like growths. Yes, sometimes it is even has the beginnings of feathers. At this point Balut egg is soft-boiled and eaten whole.

Adventurous foods: Balut

Philippines' Balut egg - duck embryo is common. You can see the Duck Fetus -
Balut: ready to eat a duck embryo?

When I got to the Philippines, people were eating Balut as a snack on the streets, in the same way you can pick up hot dogs on the streets of NYC, except in this case it’s duck fetus. You’ll often recognize the wings, bones, beak, and more. Balut is a duck embryo and nearly a baby duck. After 17 days (in the Philippines – other southeast Asian countries do it differently), it’s then boiled. It’s often seasoned with a mixture salt, garlic and sometimes vinegar.

Is Balut an outrageous Asian delicacy, or simply classic Pinoy goodness?   I’d call it the most disturbing thing I have ever tried to eat in my life, but let me know what you think in the comments below.

I already posted about 7 Philippine cuisines – foods I ate and liked in the Philippines, but Balut eggs are in another category entirely.

If you’d like to see it in action, I’ve curated some of the best video clips of eating Balut below.

A child introduces Balut during his 1st time trying it:

Food Network’s Anthony Bourdain eats Balut (2:23):

Travel Channel Andrew Andrew Zimmern eats Balut

Eating Balut for the first time:

How to eat Balut:

Videos: beak, feathers, and all (this is not me!)

Fight Quest on Discovery Channel it in January 2008. “Egg with wings” with partially grown feathers.


[in my previous trip, “stinky tofu” in Taiwan was also on the “too repulsive to eat” food list for me]

More info from Wikipedia on Balut.

Balut didn’t quite make my top 7 Philippine cuisines (favorite foods and meals from the Philippines). What did?  Halo-Halo, Pork Adobo, Kare-Kare, and more.

Snorkeling in the Philippines – Malapascua Island

Snorkeling in Malapascua

I had never gone snorkeling with so few fish as I did in Malapascua, Philippines. With that said, the water was clear and we had a great group and our first ever encounter with a Sea Snake!

I’ll post about the Sea Snake soon, but in the meantime, here are some fun pics from our snorkeling experience below.

With hardly any fish and great visibility, we mostly just played. Our international group of friends were from Italy, Sweden, England, Holland, and the U.S.

crystal clear waters while snorkeling in Malapascua Island, Philippines

Is there good snorkeling?

I adore the Philippines and was excited for a snorkeling trip.

If you’re wondering, is there good snorkeling in Malapascua?  That depends on your perspective, but I’d say no. If you’re looking for clear water, it’s wonderful. If you’re looking for lots of fish, I don’t recommend it. With that said, I had an amazing time!

sea snake in the Philippines - very dangerous!

Once we got over the disappointment of not seeing fish, we had a fun photo shoot in the clear waters of Malapascua.

it's me! snorkeling off the coast of Malapascua Island, Philippines

Gabbi had her blade ready, just in case we saw a single fish on our adventure. Unfortunately we did not.

snorkeling with a knife for predators

Snorkeling in the Philippines near the Island of Malapascua

the only fish we saw in two hours of snorkeling

Ian was ready with little pieces of bread in a bottle to feed the non-existent fish.

snorkeling trick - put bread in a plastic bottle to attract fish when snorkeling
Ian was ready with little pieces of bread in a bottle to feed the non-existent fish.

Peppi loved how clear the water was everywhere we went!

snorkeling photo in clear waters of Malapascua, Philippines

Note, don’t touch the sea snakes. They’re incredibly poisonous and dangerous. Ahhhh!

Sea Snake in Malapascua Philippines Visit50 Feb2011

Malapascua is mostly known for the thresher shark diving – if wondeing what that is, I’ve got you covered, with a full post outlining all you’ve ever wanted to know about thresher sharks.

I’ve also put together a post on the rest of Malapascua island, which I absolutely loved! The whole island is just 1.5 miles long (2.5 KM) and only a little more than a half mile wide (1 KM wide). You can walk the entire island in less than 2 hours

Here’s another blog post I liked on Malapascua