Would you dare to eat a Hundred Year Egg?
The Chinese food called “Hundred Year Egg” needs eggs that were buried in the ground for weeks or months.
Did you ever smell a rotten egg? If you did, the thought of eating a hundred year old egg might not be too enticing. Yet, this Chinese preserved egg with the name Hundred Year Egg has not been kept on the store shelf for 100 years, or 1000 years for that matter as its name sometimes suggests. Phew! However, there is a dish that has been around for hundreds of years and came about during a time when eggs were generally scarcer, so people would preserve them to eat at a later date.
Also known as pidan the eggs used for Hundred Year Eggs, are often duck eggs though they may also be from chickens or quails. To make a Hundred Year Egg the old-fashioned way, the egg is wrapped in a mixture of clay, rice husks, ash, lime and salt to cure them and then preserved for several weeks or months. When they are peeled, the egg yolk has turned a dark green color and the egg white has turned transparent brown. Some have delicate snowflake or pine tree branch patterns near their surface and most are pretty smelly. But how do they taste? A bit like cheese!
Is modern always better?
The more modern way of making this dish tends to be much quicker. Eggs are cured in a salt mixture and wrapped in plastic. However, this way of making the delicacy may be more convenient but many people don’t believe it to be as tasty…
The importance of food in Chinese culture
In Chinese culture food plays a very important role with basic principles such as that food needs to be freshly prepared and balanced, it should be adjustable to hard times when there are less supplies available and that it is considered a medicine.
Can you think of foods in your home that people from different countries might find very unusual?
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)