Exploring the culinary delights of balut in Vietnam

Should you find yourself strolling down the lively streets of Vietnam, surrounded by the enticing scents of sizzling woks and flavorful broths, you may encounter a distinctive culinary delight called balut. Let’s explore the captivating realm of balut in Vietnam, unveiling its preparation, cultural importance, and the delectable flavors that contribute to its status as a sought-after delicacy.

What is balut?

Balut is a delicacy crafted from duck eggs, particularly when the duck embryo has taken form within the egg. A renowned street food in Vietnam, it holds a special place in the hearts of many Vietnamese people due to its nutritional value. Balut in Vietnam is often referred to as “trung vit lon” However, in the southern region of Vietnam, it goes by the names “hot vit lon”. 

Balut in Vietnam

Known for its rich, creamy, and savory taste with a slightly gamey flavor, this street food boasts a distinctive aroma and may reveal nutty undertones. Its flavor profile provides a unique and memorable experience, setting it apart from ordinary chicken eggs.

Benefits of eating balut

In a Health & Life newspaper article, Dr. Tran Kim Anh highlighted that eggs boast the highest nutritional value and offer a well-balanced nutrient profile, making them suitable for consumption by individuals of all ages, from children to pregnant women and the elderly (except for those with egg allergies). 

Referencing the nutritional composition table of Vietnamese foods from the National Institute of Nutrition in 2006, eggs, including balut eggs, are rich in protein, lipids, carbohydrates, iron, calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1, B2, PP, and even vitamin C. These nutrients are essential for the body. 

amazing benefits of balut

When comparing the nutritional content of 100g of chicken eggs with balut eggs, the latter exhibit significantly higher levels of iron, calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and PP than regular chicken eggs. 

In conclusion, from a nutritional standpoint, balut eggs are a nutritious and non-toxic food suitable for consumption by everyone, including individuals with rheumatism, and particularly beneficial for pregnant and postpartum women. Nevertheless, individuals with high cholesterol and obesity should exercise caution and limit their consumption to only 2-3 eggs per week.

How to eat balut in Vietnam?

Balut is commonly enjoyed by Vietnamese people with laksa leaves and a combination of dried salt, pepper, and lemon or a complementary dipping sauce. To mitigate the distinct fishy flavor of balut, individuals often incorporate hot and spicy elements like chili and ginger into the sauce. 

It’s worth noting that the approach to savoring balut varies across regions. In North Vietnam, the balut is extracted from the shell and promptly placed in a small bowl. Eaters typically use a spoon to enjoy the delicacy alongside the accompanying dipping sauce.

In the Central and Southern regions of Vietnam, balut is put in a small glass with the larger end facing upward. It is delicately peeled at the top and served alongside salt, pepper, lemon, or a dipping sauce.

Foreign tourists and those encountering balut for the first time are frequently hesitant and may be reluctant to try this dish. The apprehension is likely linked to the developed form of the duck embryo, which can be intimidating for many individuals. As a result, balut often features in TV shows that challenge individuals to display courage in trying unconventional foods.

Exploring 5 delicious dishes made from balut in Vietnam

Balut eggs stir-fried with tamarind sauce

Balut eggs stir-fried with tamarind sauce

In Vietnam, balut eggs stir-fried with tamarind sauce is extremely popular that you can come across anywhere. It can be said that this dish is among the top national snacks that are indispensable when it comes to street food. You can enjoy this dish for breakfast with hot rice or vermicelli, and it tastes delicious either way.

Balut eggs with mugwort

Balut eggs with mugwort

This is a famous breakfast option at roadside eateries. Therefore, it will be very convenient for you to grab a quick breakfast whenever you’re busy. This dish is also renowned for its health benefits, as the combination with mugwort helps effectively reduce and prevent headaches.”

Balut porridge

Balut porridge

This is a breakfast dish that is not difficult to eat, contrary to what many people might think. It is both delicious and nutritious. Prepare the balut egg congee as you would regular congee. However, add minced meat and sautéed straw mushrooms to make it fragrant. As for the balut eggs, boil them until cooked, peel, and set aside. Once the congee is smooth, add the balut eggs and season with herbs, stirring for about 10 to 15 minutes after reducing the heat.

Grilled balut eggs with salt and chili

Grilled balut eggs with salt and chili

This is a popular street food in tourist cities. The preparation method requires boiling the eggs before cracking them into small cups. You also need to make a chili sauce to pour over the eggs. Essential spices such as chili, shallots, garlic, finely chopped coriander, fried shallots, and roasted peanuts should be prepared before grilling and served afterward. To cook this grilled balut eggs with salt and chili, you can use an air fryer, a grilling stove, or a charcoal grill.

Boiled balut eggs

Boiled balut eggs

With boiled balut eggs, you can enjoy them without rice for breakfast. However, to make boiled balut eggs exceptionally enticing, you need to know the secret to boiling them. When boiling the eggs, add a bit of fresh ginger, a slice of fresh lime, salt, and sugar to the water, or you can also boil balut eggs with coconut water for a delicious flavor.

In summary, this distinctive delicacy remains a fascination for daring food enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into Vietnam’s diverse and vibrant culinary scene. Therefore, when you visit Vietnam, seize the chance to embark on a culinary adventure and relish the unmatched delights of balut in Vietnam.

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