Balut Challenge: Aussie Team Tries Balut for the First Time!

It’s always a treat when cultures come together: great possibilities, for learning, for camaraderie and growing our great culture with amazing people. What’s even better is when you have cool co-workers, not to mention the leadership team, who’s got all smiles and guts (kept intact) in braving this (in)famous balut challenge.

Make sure you don’t miss our Balut Challenge Video below!

Let’s see how these really good looking, worldly, smart men from the TOA Leadership Team fare. But first, some background.

What is balut, balut pronunciation, and other fun facts

Every country has a culinary specialty that raises the eyebrow of people from other countries. If Australia has Vegemite, the Philippines has its own delicacy to offer which is often regarded as an exotic food by Filipinos   a three week old fertilised chicken or duck egg called ‘balut’ (pronounced as “bah-loot”).

While it looks like a regular hard boiled egg from the outside, there’s more to this seemingly innocent looking delicacy than meets the eye. The reason, perhaps, why some people in western countries find it strange, terrifying or even disgusting to eat.

Balut and the BPO culture

For Australians, eating balut is not something to look forward to. There are those who will downright say no, or those who will try  and throw up (great effort though), or those who can’t even begin to comprehend why the need to eat such, and finally, those who swear “it tastes like chicken!”

Some might say that this is just Filipinos getting back at Aussies making them eat that equally questionable Vegemite. There’s some truth to that. But in any case, from any perspective, it’s all good. Incredible fun and banter that will go down in the books (and something to tell the grandkids in the future) all in the name of culture appreciation and camaraderie.

Balut and its role in Filipino culture

A popular Filipino street food sold along the stalls of a night market, balut is commonly eaten as a high-protein snack. It is famous in the Philippines and in neighboring countries such as Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

In the Philippines, they buy balut to eat on a long jeepney journey, after dinner or at midnight. But, people with high cholesterol level should be careful because this egg is a cholesterol bomb. Eating too much (ideally, it should only be one balut per day) can make you feel dizzy. It is even worse if combined with alcohol.

Eating balut is still deeply anchored in Filipino culture. However, less and less young urbanites are loving it because of the country’s rapidly modernising palate. In an attempt to preserve this culture, some schools in the Philippines introduce balut to young students during science experiment class. After studying the anatomy of birds, the students are encouraged to eat the egg afterwards or else, they’ll get a low score.

Parts of the balut: See what’s inside 

Depending on the incubation time (18-21 days) and the way the embryo developed, you’ll find several types of balut which has their own specific name.

The balut has three main parts: a white part, a yellow part and a nicely developed embryo. Yes. A really developed embryo with a head, two big eyes, a nice little beak, dark feathers and vitelline duct (or known as umbilical cord) all covered with veins and blood vessels.


Balut Nutrition Facts

Balut may not sound appealing to those who haven’t grown up with it, but it does make a nutritious snack. It is believed to have high protein content, calcium and iron. Per 1 serving of balut, there are 181 calories and has the following calorie breakdown:

  • Fat: 10g or 60%
  • Protein: 14g or 37%
  • Carbohydrate: 1g or 3%

balut nutrition facts

Source: fatsecret.com

How to cook balut

Unlike regular eggs, balut eggs do not undergo the same food inspection and grading that regular eggs undergo.  Balut eggs can be purchased cooked or uncooked. And similar to preparation of hard-boiled eggs, balut are boiled for 20 to 30 minutes before eating. This will kill the bacteria that might grow during incubation period.

how to cook balut

More balut facts: Can balut be eaten raw? What does balut taste like? 

Balut is more commonly eaten cooked in various parts of Southeast Asia. There are some parts of the region that eat this raw, but this is very rare. Cooked is preferred as this tastes so much better and this prevents consumers of acquiring microorganisms that cause diseases. Balut can be boiled, fried, or included as another ingredient in adobo, a famous local dish.

When it comes to taste, as palate preferences vary from person to person, the most common review of balut’s taste is that of … you guessed it — chicken! The broth is said to bring out this flavour. In different cultures, different seasonings such as salt and pepper, vinegar, and chili are added to enhance the flavour.

How to eat balut

There’s a lot of ways to eat balut. But for those who haven’t tried it yet, here’s a quick and easy step on how to eat balut to save you from all the mess.

© flickr.com

Step 1: Cracking the Egg

Look for the hollow part of the egg and crack it gently using a spoon or a fork, or any table near you.

Step 2: Be careful when you crack

Make sure NOT to crack all the way through. Just make a small hole at the top.

Step 3: Drink the broth

Put salt and drink the broth from the hole (you’ll taste something soup-like).

Step 4: Peel the rest of the shell

Peel the rest of the egg and eat the yolk with salt or vinegar.

Step 5: Save the best for last: eat the embryo

Now comes the tricky part: eating the feathery, wrinkled duck fetus. Pick the duck embryo out from the egg, sprinkle some salt or vinegar and chew it.

Step 6: Leave the white part

The white part is quite rubbery, so no need to eat it.

Balut vs Aussie Team

Now it’s time to have a look at the lighter side of Filipino food, or in this case, how amusing it could be to watch our Aussie team tries balut for the very first time.

All in the name of culture appreciation and camaraderie, four strong-willed men took the challenge namely Nick Sinclair (CEO), Ben Vickers (COO), Ross Dougall (CMO) and Cameron Wright (Relationship Manager).


Australians’ reaction to balut

Did they like it? Will they do it again? Let’s see what our participants have to say.

Nick Sinclair, CEO

Question 1: Did you have any hesitations before eating the balut? What were they?

“No hesitations from me. You only live once, why not try another country’s traditional food.”

Question 2: What does balut taste like?

It tastes like a boiled egg, with a few crunchy chewy bits.

Question 3: Would you do it again? If no, what would it take to make you eat this again?

“Yes without a doubt.”

Question 4: Any other thoughts?

When you’re in the Philippines, make certain this is one of your cultural experiences. And to make it easier to eat, sprinkle salt on it as well as vinegar.”

Ben Vickers, COO

Question 1: Did you have any hesitations before eating the balut? What were they?

Yes, I didn’t want to consume an infant bird.

Question 2: What does balut taste like?

An infant egg.

Question 3: Would you do it again? If no, what would it take to make you eat this again?

No I wouldn’t. It would take a lot.

Question 4: Any other thoughts?

I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t enjoy food or is open to exploring cultures. I’d try anything once.

Ross Dougall, CMO

Question 1: Did you have any hesitations before eating the balut? What were they?

None whatsoever. Until I started to get scared. Something about not having tried the stage in between a boiled egg and chicken before.

Question 2: What does balut taste like?

Salty, vinegary and like a big ol’ egg yolk.

Question 3: Would you do it again? If no, what would it take to make you eat this again?

Absolutely, it’s fun!

Question 4: Any other thoughts?

It’s just great to be able to have the opportunity to share and understand such a great culture better, if it involves food then that’s always a bonus! Give it a go!

Cameron Wright, Relationship Manager

Question 1: Did you have any hesitations before eating the balut? What were they?

Yes because it looked rotten.”

Question 2: What does balut taste like?

Juicy warmish mush.

Question 3: Would you do it again? If no, what would it take to make you eat this again?

No never.  I would have to be tricked into eating again.

Question 4: Any other thoughts?

I don’t want to see that video again (haha).


Culture is something that we highly value at The Outsourced Accountant — to appreciate it, to share, and to celebrate. And this is just one of the many things that we are proud of. Learn more about us here.


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