Another popular street food in the Philippines, balut is an incubated fertilized duck egg which has been incubated for about 18 days. Believed to be a potent aphrodisiac and a cure for hangover, balut is often served with rock salt or spicy vinegar. It is considered a relatively inexpensive source of protein and calcium.
Aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to put up a home-based food business may venture into balut-making. The materials needed to make a balut are cheap and accessible in rural villages. Moreover, the retail price of balut is approximately 50% higher than that of fresh eggs.
- Select eggs fit for incubation. Eggs should not be more than five days old and should come from mated flocks. Make sure that the eggs you select have thick shells without any crack.
- Preheat the eggs you selected under the sun for three to five hours.
- Roast or heat unpolished rice in an iron vat or cauldron until it reaches a temperature of about 42 to 42.5 degrees Celsius.
- Place 100 to 125 eggs into a large cloth made of either nylon or abaca.
- Put a layer of heated rice at the bottom of a cylindrical bamboo incubator basket called “toong”. Place a bag of eggs on the rice then alternate the bags of eggs with the bags of heated rice. About eight bags of eggs will fit into the basket.
- You may arrange the bamboo baskets either in a single row along the wall of the balutan or in double rows placed in the middle of the balutan. Make sure to firmly tamp down rice hull between baskets to serve as an insulator.
- Turn the eggs at least two or three times daily.
- On cool days, heat the rice in the morning and in the afternoon.
- On the 7th, 14th and 18th day, candle the eggs to select infertile eggs. Dead embryo on first and second candling must be removed and hardboiled. It can already be sold as a snack.
- Eggs that have a normal embryo candled on the 16th to 18th day must be hard boiled. This can now be sold as a balut.
Noted: You can prolong the shelf life of balut, which normally lasts one day, by storing it inside a refrigerator. Its shelf life can be extended to one week through this storage method.