Balut, a steamed partially developed duck embryo, is a massively popular dish in the Philippines. It is a meal best eaten with friends and large quantities of beer. In America it is generally something that only forms fodder for a parade of "Most Disgusting Foods Ever" lists. In the Philippines, balut is said to be an aphrodisiac and a natural male performance enhancer.
What is balut? Balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been incubated for around 17 days. Duck eggs need to incubate longer than chicken eggs, but this chart should give you a pretty good idea what is going on around day 17. Balut is made from older and younger eggs, but the consensus is that eggs cooked on or around the 17th day have the best balance of flavor and texture. Eggs cooked beyond the 17th day might have developed feathers and beaks, which need to be spit out during the eating process.
The egg is cooked by steaming or boiling, almost exactly like a regular hard-boiled egg. Balut is best served warm and accompanied by salt and vinegar.
In the Philipines, balut is generally sold by street vendors who keep the eggs warm in buckets of sand. In the States, balut can occasionally be found in Asian markets where it is usually kept by the register in a rice cooker set on warm.
Be Warned: There is a picture of balut, in all of its partially developed duck embryo glory, after the jump.