Century egg

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, or thousand-year egg, is a Chinese delicacy made from duck, chicken, or quail eggs that have been preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice straw for several weeks to months. The preservation process transforms the egg's texture and taste, resulting in a unique culinary experience. This article will discuss the history, preparation, consumption, and cultural significance of century eggs.

Trứng vịt Bắc Thảo century egg pinyin
Trứng vịt Bắc Thảo century egg pinyin black
Century Egg

History[edit | edit source]

The origins of century eggs can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China 1. It is believed that the preservation technique was discovered accidentally when eggs were stored in a mixture of slaked lime and ash, a common practice to preserve food at the time. The unique taste and appearance of the eggs gained popularity, and they eventually became a staple in Chinese cuisine.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Century eggs are made through a preservation process that typically takes several weeks to months. Fresh duck, chicken, or quail eggs are coated in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice straw. This mixture, which has a high pH, preserves the eggs and transforms their texture and taste 2.

Over time, the egg white turns into a translucent, jelly-like substance with a brownish color, while the yolk becomes dark green or gray with a creamy, semi-solid texture. The preservation process also produces a strong, pungent aroma, which is a distinctive feature of century eggs.

Consumption[edit | edit source]

Century eggs are often consumed as a snack or appetizer, or as an ingredient in various dishes. They can be eaten on their own, sliced and served with pickled ginger, soy sauce, or sesame oil, or used in recipes such as congee (rice porridge) or salads.

In Chinese cuisine, century eggs are often paired with tofu, creating a popular dish called pidan doufu (皮蛋豆腐), or preserved egg with tofu. The combination of the soft tofu and the flavorful, pungent century egg creates a unique and satisfying taste experience.

Cultural Significance[edit | edit source]

Century eggs have been a part of Chinese cuisine and culture for centuries. They are considered a delicacy and are often served during special occasions or given as gifts. Despite their strong flavor and aroma, century eggs are appreciated by many for their unique taste and texture.

In recent years, century eggs have gained international attention as a curiosity and a food challenge, similar to other unusual foods like balut or durian. They have been featured on various travel and food shows, showcasing their distinctive appearance and flavor.

See Also[edit | edit source]

Footnotes

  • Hu, S. (2005). Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good Health: Nutrition, Medicine, and Culture. Columbia University Press. ↩
  • Campbell-Platt, G. (2017). Food Science and Technology. John Wiley & Sons.
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD