How many partly developed duck eggs can you eat in a minute?

Yum!: Balut may not be the most succulent looking dish, but it doen’t taste half bad. Kind of like chicken, except slimier.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A Downtown Filipino food stand is hosting a one-of-a-kind eating contest, challenging adventurous foodies and champion gluttons to eat as much balut as they can in one minute.

And what is balut, you ask? Why, it’s duck fetus, of course.

“You can see the beginning of eyes and a beak,” said Nicole Ponseca of Maharlika, the eatery sponsoring the contest. “I call it Daffy.”

To be more precise, balut is the fertilized egg of a duck, which is frozen 11 to14 days before it’s expected to hatch. It’s then boiled for 20 minutes, and served with salt and suka, a vinegar derived from sugar cane.

“If you’re lucky, you might find some feathers,” executive chef Miguel Trinidad said.

The food is a favored snack among Filipinos, who happily pop back dozens of the almost-developed avians at any time of the day, according to Ponseca, who claims she saw some people putting away 20 at a time on a three-month backpacking trip in the Philippines.

“I wouldn’t recommend eating that much though,” said Ponseca, whose eatery operates out of a shipping container at the Dekalb Market. “Too much cholesterol.”

Still curious? There’s actually four parts to an embryonic duck dish.

First there’s the shell, which is inedible, like any other fowl’s egg.

Next comes some tasty embryonic fluid to drink. Just imagine yourself holding a tea cup, and sip it. Then imagine the tea is embryonic fluid.

Beauty is shell deep: While the balut shell is unremarkable, cracking it open reveals something altogether less attractive than your typical, unfertilized egg.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

After that, there’s the egg yolk, which is thicker and more rich than your typical unfertilized egg.

Beneath that yellow layer of yoke lies the final fetal prize — duck embryo!

But what does it taste like?

As part of The Brooklyn Paper’s in-depth balut coverage, this intrepid reporter fearlessly devoured not one, but two servings of the Filipino delicacy.

All-in-all it’s not unlike any other egg, albeit, a bit on the rich side.

The duck itself tastes like chicken — a slimy, gamey chicken, whose chance at life, sadly, fell just short of fruition.

So far, only two adventurous Brooklynites have signed up to compete in the off-beat eating contest — so there’s still time for weird-food lovers with a competitive edge, if they want to face off to see who can eat the most fertilized egg in one minute. Those interested can sign up on Twitter at @MarharlikaNYC.

Maharlika Filipino Moderno has two locations, including the soon to close stall in the Dekalb Market, but balut is only a regular menu offering at their main branch in Manhattan — for those who want to eat theirs at a slower pace.

Balut Eating Contest at Dekalb Market [138 Willoughby St. between Gold Street and Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, (212) 529–9262, dekalbmarket.com] Aug. 25, 3 pm.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

Hard boiled: After a 20-minute bath in simmer water, the Balut is ready to be served with salt and suka, a sugar cane vinegar.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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