Duck Embryo: Everything You Need To Know About Balut | Kidadl


Duck Embryo: Everything You Need To Know About Balut

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Are you familiar with balut?

Eating duck embryo is extremely popular in several countries. Balut is a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and then eaten right from the shell.

Duck embryo is a popular cuisine in some Asian countries. The embryo of a duck is consumed before it gets a chance to become ducklings. It is a way of life for many cultures. The process done to consume this embryo is a little different too. What are the steps taken for the development of the duck embryo? How do you prevent the embryo from hatching? Is it good to eat duck embryos? What are some of the health benefits of eating the embryo of ducks? There will be plenty of questions one will have related to this. Without further ado, let us take a look at the duck embryo and understand how it is developed and how it is eaten.

After reading all about duck embryo, also check facts about dog mouth and goat hair.

What is a duck embryo?

Are you aware of a duck embryo? What exactly is a duck embryo? Let us familiarize ourselves with some basic facts.

A duck embryo is seen inside an egg shell of a duck egg, but these duck eggs are not fully grown at the embryo stage. The growth and development of the duck egg after a few days of its fertilization form a half-formed duckling inside it. This half-formed duck is called a duck embryo. The eggshells of such fertilized duck eggs have partially formed duck embryos. These eggs are allowed to incubate for at least 18 days to create the embryo. Eighteen days is the least incubation period needed to develop the duck embryo.

Why are these fertilized duck embryo eggs used? It is a common food item among many people.  How is duck embryo development hindered after they are fertilized? After ovulation, the duck eggs undergo development, and the incubation stage of the fertilized eggs happens.

The duck embryo is a famous cuisine and is widely stored in low temperatures for consumption. The appearance of the duck embryo is of a chick with eyes, ears, beak, and feathers.

What is a duck embryo called?

We have already discussed what a duck embryo is and how it remains as an embryo. There is a name for these duck embryo eggs. Have you ever heard of balut?

Balut is a popular street food sold commonly in the Philippines and Vietnam. It is known as hot vit lon in these areas. You would have an idea what balut is by now. The fertilized duck egg at its embryo stage is called a balut. The partially developed embryo in the eggshell is boiled and cooked to a tasty meal in the Philippines and Vietnam. Apart from the Philippines and Vietnam, these balut egg dishes are also seen in Southeast Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos.

Balut is a source of calcium and protein. By eating balut dishes, you can get calcium and protein into your body. It is inexpensive compared to other food sources. Balut makers cook this duck egg in different ways. But most of the Asian stores give out this dish in raw form. The balut is eaten both cooked and uncooked.  The duck egg that is sold as balut has the egg white in color but not exactly as white as chicken eggs. The eggs have a more off-white shade. The size of the balut is also larger compared to a chicken egg. The duck embryo or balut is part of the local culture of the Philippines and Vietnam.

The duck industry of these places produces both the duck embryo and salted duck egg. The name ‘balut’ means wrapped or covered. This refers to the covering process of the duck egg during the incubation period. Despite its popularity in the Philippines as a Filipino dish, the duck egg is also cooked by other Asian countries. It was developed initially in China to increase the shelf life of eggs during ancient times. The duck egg was called ‘maodan,’ which means feathered or hairy eggs. The feathers of the duck embryo are visible in the balut dish.

The embryo is cooked with the feathers. Although the balut is a way of life for the Philippines, it is also becoming part of other cultures too. The people in Vietnam also eat balut as typical street food. The only difference in Vietnam is that the incubation period is 19 to 21 days. The people in Vietnam prefer to have the duck eggs firmly when cooked. Despite that fact, the egg dish is prepared in almost similar ways in all these places.

Duck eggs in the farm.

Duck Embryo Development

The duck embryo or balut has four parts in it. The liquid inside the egg, the embryo, the yolk, and the egg white or albumen. How does the fertilized duck egg go through different stages and form this balut? What are the steps of the development of this fertilized duck embryo?

After the eggs are fertilized, the incubation process of the fertilized duck egg happens. Within 40 hours of the incubation process, the embryo lifts over the yolk and lies on its sides. The circulation of blood between the embryo and the yolk happens at this time. The embryo differentiation occurs in the first 1-6 days, while the organ development happens in 17 days. After this, the balut is produced. The organs are already developed in the chicks inside the egg.

That is why the balut contains a chick with a beak, eyes, ears, and feathers. The complete development and hatching take place in 28 days in typical cases. The yolk of the balut egg is rich in proteins. The balut egg yolk is a popular food choice for protein. A temperature of 40-42.5 degrees Celsius (104-108.5 degrees Fahrenheit) is preferred to incubate the balut egg. A high humidity is seen as more favorable for the development of the embryo. After 18 days, the eggs are removed from this environment and kept at a low temperature to prevent further embryo development.

The duck embryo development is monitored so that the fertilized egg is removed at the right time. In the Philippines, the incubation period usually is 18 days, but in Vietnam, it can last for 21 days so that the egg will be firmer. The main reason for duck embryo development is to make balut food. The balut can also be made with chicken eggs. But the incubation period of a chicken egg is different from the duck eggs. The chick will fully develop in 21 days, so the embryo is kept in incubation for 14 days. There are no other differences in other stages of the embryo development in both these birds. The embryo is eaten as food after removal from this incubation period.

Can you eat duck embryo?

Can you eat a duck embryo? Well, we know that many people eat balut. So the answer is obvious. Yes, you can eat a duck embryo. But would you want to? Some people will find balut as a weird food to eat. If you ever feel like giving this duck embryo food a try, you can.

There are different ways to eat the fertilized duck embryo. We will find people eating duck embryos in the raw form without cooking. It is the perfect late-night snack served in the streets. The balut is boiled or steamed for 20-30 minutes until it is hard-cooked. Sometimes the shells of the eggs are peeled away to eat. The membrane of the eggshell is broken, and the broth is sipped like chicken soup from the shell.

Sometimes, the balut is not boiled or steamed but instead eaten straight out of the shell with seasoning. In the Philippines, balut is served with vinegar and soy sauce. In Vietnam, the balut is served with salt, pepper, and coriander. So when you go to these two places, you can eat balut in different ways. Once the broth of the balut is eaten, you will find the yolk and duck part of the balut. The meat of the balut is tender, but you will hear some cracks when eating this food. The cracks are the bones of the duck. The balut has a taste similar to that of chicken and turkey.

The balut will taste good when accompanied with some drinks like lime juice. You can taste the balut either by boiling it or by eating it raw. Whatever way you prefer, it doesn’t matter because the health benefits of balut will not get reduced from a bit of heat. Balut eggs are highly nutritious. The balut calories seen in one egg is around 188 calories. There is also calcium, iron, fat, and protein. In terms of health, balut is an excellent choice for you. It is not just the taste but also the health benefits that make this food so popular.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for duck embryo, then why not take a look at ant antenna or marbled duck facts.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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