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In this book, Margaret Magat explores both the traditional and popular culture contexts of eating balut. Balut-fertilized duck or chicken eggs that have developed into fully formed embryos with feathers and beaks-is a delicacy which elicits passionate responses. Hailed as an aphrodisiac in Filipino culture, balut is often seen and used as an object of revulsion in Western popular culture.

Drawing on interviews, participant observation, reality television programs, travel shows, food blogs, and balut-eating contests, Magat examines balut production and consumption, its role in drinking rituals, sex, and also the vampire-like legends behind it. Balut reveals how traditional foods are used in the performance of identity and ethnicity, inspiring a virtual online cottage industry via social media. It also looks at the impact globalization and migration are having on cultural practices and food consumption across the world.

The first academic book on balut, this is essential reading for anyone in food studies, folklore studies, anthropology, and Asian American studies.