After the quest Recipe for Disaster has been completed, the Dragonborn has the option of impersonating the famous Gourmet. Balbus will provide some ingredients for his special dish, if he is shown the Gourmet's Writ of Passage.
Balbus' spawn placement is random. He has been found at these locations:
- North of Riften in the woods.
- Found on the road near White River Watch.
- Balbus' corpse has been found floating down the White River near the Shrine of Talos: White River Valley.
- Found west of Halted Stream Camp.
- On the road leading west from Whiterun.
- On a nondescript road leading to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.
- On the road Northeast of Bthardamz.
- At the triple intersection next to Bthardamz.
- Standing between Gjukar's Monument and Swindler's Den, near a small Shrine of Zenithar.
- Found southeast of Markarth, due west of Reachwater Rock.
- Found between Secundus' Shelf and the Western Watchtower near Whiterun.
- Found northeast of Anise's Cabin near the path up to Bleak Falls Barrow.
- Near Anise's Cabin.
- On the road just east of the Twilight Sepulcher.
- Found slightly northeast of Bleakwind Basin.
- On a road, near the Embershard Mine.
- Found slightly west of Riften.
- On a dirt path between Lost Knife Hideout and Hillgrund's Tomb.
- East of Whiterun along the road leading to the Ritual Stone.
- Found in the Tundra, South of Western Watchtower.
- Found west of Riverwood.
- North of White River Watch.
- Between Shimmermist Cave and Fellglow Keep.
- Directly out the back door of Rannveig's Fast.
- Northwest of Knifepoint Ridge, on the path up to Glenmoril Coven.
- South of Bonestrewn Crest.
- Balbus' corpse has been found slightly east of Riften.
- Southeast of Tower of Mzark
- Northeast of Arkngthamz fighting Volkihar Vampires.
Upon being killed, Balbus usually carries the following items:
- Balbus' Fork
- Daedra Heart
- Gold (septims)
- Spider Egg
- Troll Fat
- Uncommon Taste (book)
- Hide Boots
- Hide Bracers
- Clothes (green)
- Iron Dagger
- Balbus' appearance is one of the random encounters that exist throughout Skyrim.
- Unlike most random encounter characters, Balbus does not disappear when the Dragonborn leaves the area, remaining at his original location unless killed. A new random encounter will occur if the location is revisited after some time has passed; if the encounter includes hostile characters, they are likely to attack Balbus.
- It is highly possible that he can be found dead, as he is not an essential character, is very weak, and will be attacked by any hostile enemies that approach him. As a result, he can be easily killed.