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Where To Buy Balut Egg

To eat balut, Filipinos start by cracking off the narrow end of the shell. They peel a small hole in the membrane and sip the amniotic fluid, a warm, gamey liquid marketed as \"soup.\" Next, they season the egg with salt and vinegar, then peel and eat the bulbous yolk and delicate bird inside.

where to buy balut egg

Sellers choose their balut's stage of development by purchasing duck eggs on the day they're laid. They then incubate them for two to three weeks. After boiling the eggs, the vendors sell the hot and fresh baby ducks to help replenish depleted night owls.

Food has been the focus of study among researchers in describing the socio-cultural landscape of a society. In some works, food is used as a point of discussion of history [11], policy development [12], and even societal hierarchies [13] and inequalities [14]. This current work contributes to the growing literature of food studies, as it traces the socio-historical narratives of the Filipino people in relation to the polarizing ethnic food called balut. Accordingly, the main objective of this study is to trace the history of balut making and consumption in the Philippines. In particular, this would be discussed according to five sub-objectives. First, this study aims to identify the factors that contributed to the discovery and patronage of balut by looking into the economic, social, and cultural contexts. Second, this study maps out the localities that popularized the balut industry in the country. Third, this study also intends to specify the key industries that started off the large scale production of balut. Fourth, this work discusses the local processes of making balut and the various ways of its consumption. It is through the latter three objectives by which this paper positions balut as a distinct Filipino food despite its wide distribution and patronage in Asia.

With these objectives, this study employed a qualitative exploratory design. This study is primarily a scoping review of existing literature on the Philippine duck industry. It also employed content analysis of the secondary data which consisted of historical documents and current literature. Accordingly, this method makes use of existing data to be able to establish what is already known [14]. This was also used to provide a comprehensive understanding of the balut industry and its development in the Philippines. The data included a variety of sources including journal articles, books, published reports, and news articles. These bodies of literature were assessed and categorized into themes that created the conceptual markers for the documentation of a cultural narrative of balut in the country. The thematic analysis was produced through the usage of qualitative data analysis software with specific use of closed coding and axial coding processes.

During the 1990s, a significant shift from this trend occurred through the introduction of commercial duck feeds. Along with the profitability of this business, the availability of commercial duck feeds encouraged the expansion of small-scale duck farmers into large-scale producers as well as the increase of new commercial operators. Traditionally, duck farms establish their businesses near rivers and lakes since it provides natural food sources for ducks such as snails and shells [8]. With the introduction of commercial duck feeds, duck farmers who are geographically far from fresh bodies of water were also able to start and maintain their own farm businesses. Subsequently, this expanded the balut industry to other provinces. In 2018, the number of commercial duck farms had an increase of 5.59%, while backyard farms only went up by 2.89% [27]. Consequently, the duck farming in the Philippines may be classified into two types: small-scale or backyard and commercial. Its main point of comparison depends on the number of duck heads regardless of its breed. It is considered as commercial when the farm has more than 100 heads of duck unless otherwise. The duck industry in the country has also long been dominated by small-scale producers. It was estimated that about three quarters of duck egg producers are small-scale who are mainly found in rural areas [1].

The increasing demand for balut production has resulted in an increase of duck farms in the Philippines. Thus, duck farming is considered as one of the most profitable livestock industries as well as one of the major sources of livelihood among Filipinos similar to most Asian countries. In general, the Philippines dominates the duck egg production in the global market [3, 28]. Duck farming is characterized as inexpensive and requires non-elaborate housing facilities and less space per duck head for rearing [29]. Hence, it could easily be established in a small land area or even within the backyard. As such, this industry can play a key role in alleviating poverty. The natural abundance of ducks combined with its low-cost maintenance allows even low-income communities to start up their own businesses. It provides employment and income-earning opportunities for marginal communities and rural areas [10, 19].

As the duck farming industry increases, there is also a direct increase in duck egg production. It was estimated that about a total of 40 thousand metric tons of eggs is being produced annually [24]. In 2017, the total production of duck eggs accumulated to about 486 million pesos, having a 6.34% increase from 2016 [30]. This makes up about 1.56% of the total income of the poultry industry of the country. Although this is still a small portion of the poultry industry, the growing demand for balut has resulted in an increase in the number of duck farms and egg producers in the Philippines. About 80% of the total duck egg production is being processed for balut making [1, 25], while the remaining 20% was allotted for the selling of raw duck eggs, penoy, and salted eggs.

Pateros has been considered the capital of balut industry in the Philippines. It is a small and the only remaining municipality located in Metro Manila along with 16 cities (see Fig. 2). It is surrounded by natural bodies of water including Pateros River and Pasig River. In the 1950s, it was estimated that this town has about 400,000 ducks [22]. Accordingly, duck raising and egg production became a primary source of livelihood for its residents. Primarily, it started out as a cottage industry in this town. Later on, it developed its reputation for producing high-quality duck eggs and became a primary distributor to other provinces throughout the country. Its traditional process of balut making gained much popularity until it became a tourist attraction for Pateros [5]. The craft of balut making covers about 23% of its local industry at its peak.

In the 1960s, balut from Pateros were characterized with the highest quality. The balut makers were known for their careful selection of eggs. They were also able to develop a localized way of incubating eggs and processing them into products like salted egg and balut. However, massive urbanization and pollution of the Pasig River during the 1970s have led to the decline of duck farming in this area [32]. The town became uninhabitable for the ducks because their primary source of food was lost as the river became contaminated with harmful substances. As a result, the balut industry in Pateros has slowly been deteriorating since then. Nonetheless, local balut makers who still want to preserve their tradition are still able to continue their businesses by gathering duck eggs from their neighboring provinces, including Bulacan, Laguna, and Nueva Ecija [8].

The slow decline of balut industry in Pateros resulted in a sudden increase in the province of Laguna, particularly in the municipalities alongside Laguna de Bay. The province is located on the south of Manila in the island of Luzon (see Fig. 2). Many duck raisers from Pateros have migrated to this area in the hopes of recovering their businesses. One of the main reasons that duck farming is thriving in this area is because of the abundance of snails and shells [1, 8]. The large-scale duck egg producers in this province are located mostly in the municipalities of Los Baños, Bay, and Victoria [3]. The town of Victoria which is located near the shoreline of Laguna de Bay is considered as the largest duck farming industry in the country. It has about 55,000 mallard ducks that hatch about the same number of eggs at a time. Like Pateros, this town also celebrates its own Itik Festival during the second week of November.

Aside from large-scale balut facilities of Laguna, it also has its own rice-duck zones in some of its towns including Sta. Cruz, Siniloan, and San Pablo. One characteristic of the duck and duck egg industry in the province of Laguna is its varying duck-feeding practices. With the abundance of natural food sources, like snails and the availability of commercial feeds, duck raisers are able to utilize both. In the town of Los Baños, farmers feed their ducks with snails every morning, while commercial duck feeds mixed with desiccated coconut in the afternoon [3]. Accordingly, the feeds are considered as a key determinant in egg production. These aquatic foods are considered as better and more natural feeds compared to the commercial ones because they help improve the quality of the duck eggs.

The continuous increase of large-scale commercial duck farmers encourages the duck farming in other regions in the Philippines. From Region IV-A, where Laguna is located, the concentration of duck egg production gradually transferred to Region III (see Fig. 2) [1]. As of 2016, the Central Luzon is considered as the topmost duck egg-producing region in the Philippines [24] and has about an estimated 2.29 million commercial duck production. As regards to the total number of commercial duck farms in the country, two of its provinces, namely Bulacan and Pampanga, represent 28.4% and 25.7% respectively [25]. It also has the biggest duck population for commercial farms in the country. In some provinces in Central Luzon, particularly in Nueva Ecija and Pampanga, duck farms were comparatively larger in size than those in Iloilo and Quezon [29]. 041b061a72


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