Balut is a popular street food in the Philippines. It consists of a fertilized duck egg that has been incubated for approximately 18 days; a period of time which results in the formation of a partially developed embryo within the shell. Balut is eaten directly from the shell after being hard-boiled or steamed. Balut is a relatively inexpensive source of protein and calcium, and is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac for men.
There are two ways of making balut – one is for a commercial scale and the other for a small home industry. Both duck and chicken eggs may be used, but the usual eggs used are ducks’ eggs.
How to Make Balut
1. Select eggs that are fit for incubation. Eggs should come from mated flocks, and be not more than five days old. They should have thick shells without any cracks.
2. Preheat the selected eggs under the sun for three to five hours.
3. Heat some unpolished rice in an iron cauldron or vat until it reaches a temperature of about 42 to 42.5 degrees C (107 to 108 degrees F).
4. Put 100 to 125 eggs into a large cloth made of either abaca (sinamay) or nylon.
5. Place a layer of heated rice at the bottom of a cylindrical bamboo incubator basket (45 cm in diameter and 60 cm deep), and place a bag of eggs on the rice. Alternate the bags of eggs with the bags of heated rice. Eight bags of eggs will fit into the basket. Bamboo baskets can be arranged either in a single row along the wall of the balutan, or in double rows placed in the middle of the balutan. Rice hull is firmly tamped down between baskets as an insulator.
6. Turn the eggs at least two or three times a day.
7. Heat the rice in the morning and in the afternoon on cool days.
8. Candle the eggs on the 7th, 14th and 18th day to select infertile eggs; D1 (dead embryo on first candling) and D2 (dead embryo on second candling). The infertile eggs, both D1 and D2, are removed, hard-boiled, and sold as a snack.
9. Eggs containing a normal embryo candled on the 16th to 18th day should be hard boiled and sold as balut
For Small Scale Industry:
1. Prepare a big wooden box; line this with heated rice hull at the bottom, about 38°C and 6-8 inches thick.
2. Arrange the eggs in bags of about 20 or 50 pieces each, put them on the heated hull and cover again with the same thickness of heated hull.
3. Cover the box very well so as to prevent quick loss of heat.
4. Every morning, inspect the eggs to see if the rice hull needs reheating. The hull must be about 38°C.
5. On the third day, examine the eggs against a bright light to see if the germ plasm has developed. This is the part of the egg that becomes the chick, if the egg is fertile. If no germ plasm develops, remove these eggs. These are sold as “penoy.” Put back into heated hull those eggs with germ plasm.
6. On the 13th day, examine again the eggs against the light. Remove the eggs without germ plasm. At this stage, those with developing germ plasm are the “balut sa puti.”
7. On the 17th day, the chicks will be growing little feathers. These may now be cooked.
For Commercial Scale:
The process is the same except that an incubator is used instead of heated rice hull.
Business Registration Requirements
Business Name Registration
Visit Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)
Provincial Office where the business is located or log on to www.bnrs.dti.gov.ph
Resident Certificate & Sanitary Permit from the local municipality where the business is located
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) National
Office, Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Trunkline: (632) 981.7000 / 981.8888
Sources: Enhancing the Value of Eggs: How to Make Balut and Century Eggs – agnet.org, dost.gov.ph, Balut – CPHAZ and the University of Guelph