Who’s afraid of ‘balut’?

Days-old beak, bones and feathers

It’s not for the faint of heart or those with queasy stomachs. But eight New Yorkers are out to make competitive eating history when they signed up for the First ‘Balut’-Eating Contest to be held on August 25 in Brooklyn.

‘Balut’ is duck fetus boiled, dipped in salt and washed down with beer. It is a rich source of protein because of the yolk. This Philippine delicacy available in many Filipino grocery stores in New York is rumored to have aphrodisiac qualities. No one has vouched for its ‘powers’ but macho Filipino men who are prone to boast like to say they’ve eaten a lot of ‘balut’ in their day.

Of the eight people who have signed up, three are women, Nicole Ponseca of the Maharlika Filipino Moderno restaurant, told The FilAm. Maharlika is organizing the competition. She would not say if the contest has a prize, but how about bragging rights for being the ‘Balut’ Champ of New York?

“Participants will compete against each other, ‘Coney Island hotdog eating contest’ style to determine who will be crowned ‘balut’ eating champion,” she said.

More contestants are expected to sign up until August 23, which is the deadline. Simply send an email to iluvbalut@gmail.com, and you will receive a confirmation reply. The contest will be held at the Dekalb Market at 138 Willoughby Street in Brooklyn.

“What says summer better than drinks, roasted pork and fertilized duck egg?” said Nicole.

The ‘balut’ is every Filipino’s litmus test if one is really a ‘Pinoy.’ The reasoning goes that only a genuine Pinoy will savor the ‘balut’ with its beak, soft bones and moist feathers.

An American, trying to impress his Filipino girlfriend, will try to swallow one and resist the urge to gag – to the amusement of the girlfriend’s family, thrilled to have a ‘balut’ convert.

Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” took one look and swallowed the ‘balut’ whole during his visit to the Philippines. Without cringing, he asked for another one.

Cracked.com called the ‘balut’ one of the “most terrifying foods” in the world together with ‘pacha’ sheep head from Iraq and baby mice wine from Korea


  1. Fe Ramirez wrote:

    I am Filipino. When I was younger I did eat balut. Then a colleague once opened a balut in front of me and began to dissect it. I was both disgusted and terrified I never ate one again. But for those brave enough to eat it, junk the salt and instead, eat it with eat it with a mixture of white vinegar, a little crushed garlic and tiny chili pepper. Unique combination but delicious! And, it is not considered a straightaway aphrodisiac. Rather, it is meant to make one stronger. By the way, balut is best eaten hot.

  2. […] that, 27-year-old Hollis resident Wayne Algenio set a record for balut-eating in New York, the first competition of its kind in the […]

  3. […] is a Filipino delicacy – boiled duck fetus dipped in salt and washed down with beer. The FilAm has a piece on a ‘balut’-eating contest scheduled for this […]

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