The Century Egg


One of the great pleasures of living in Asia is trying new delicacies and tastes. The Century Egg is not one of them.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Century Egg is known as many things: the hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, or in original Chinese pidan. It’s made by taking the egg of a duck, quail, or chicken and packing it into a clay and rice husk-based mixture. The eggs are then left for several weeks to even a few months.

After a while, rather than rotting, the egg will be preserved through the magic of chemistry. The end result is often quite nice to look at. A snowflake-like pattern often appears when peeled and it certainly create some sharp looking darker colours. The taste, however, entirely less artistic.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful... Photo by Michael Johnstone

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…
Photo by Michael Johnstone

I was able to sample the egg at a recent work dinner, but ended up being one of only two who actually ate it. It wasn’t the most pleasant combination of textures and tastes. For one, the “whites” of the egg take on the consistency of Jell-o that has been left too long: dry, rubbery, and quite flavourless. The  yolk is a mixture of tastes, namely, old socks, hamster cage sawdust and dog hair. The only other person who ate a slice of the Century Egg was a Korean coworker of mine who said that she ate them as a child but hasn’t eaten them since. I can’t imagine why.

Still, culture is culture, and if you ever get the chance, pop some in your mouth. At the very least you can add it to your own personal list of bizarre foods, and you can challenge your friends to find a more offensive taste.

Bon appetite.

3 thoughts on “The Century Egg

  1. I often still eat these eggs and I love them. I am not sure if they are preserved differently in Hong Kong, but they sure do look the same. Try eating these with congee!

    • You’re actually the second person that’s recommended them with congee. I’m hoping to visit Hong Kong sometime soon, so I’ll give it another shot when I’m there (and maybe that fetal egg thing too)!

  2. i really love this egg.. (century egg) it’ taste really good for me.. i miss to eat this but so sad i can’t find here in korea.. thats why i want to visit my country philipnes to eat this hehe…

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