Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Thousand Year Old Egg - A Fear Factor Challenge I Can Do

I was flipping channels (all four of them), and I just saw someone on Fear Factor be forced to eat a "hundred year old egg"! Also known as Thousand Year Old Egg and Century Egg...but it's just a name. It's preserved duck egg, and it doesn't take a hundred years, just a hundred days, max! Um...hello, people...Chinese people eat them because we LIKE them. It's in my favourite congee, with julienned pork. It's not that big a deal! This is the quote: "That was disgusting! You can really taste it all when you're chewing it up!" The guy looked like he was going to puke. Bah, stupid show. They're good! And I've even once converted a Caucasian guy - he was initially repulsed by them (probably to do with knowing that it used to be a normal egg, that has turned a very dark green colour with weird gelatinous parts) and now he loves them (in congee). So if you don't like it at first, perhaps give it another try. Go to a Hon's, and order the congee for a nice, warm lunch item on a cold day. (Please note that this post is not an endorsement of the Fear Factor show in any way. I tend not to watch it because it often promotes cruelty to bugs).

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Used to love it - I think I've developed an allergy to it a few years back so I avoid it now. But for a chance at $10000, I'd do it no problemo.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Oh, that's interesting! It never occurred to me that people can have an allergy to any kind of egg. Neat. I mean, unfortunate for you, but neat. Curious about your symptoms...itchy, rash or something else?

Mark said...

oooo I've got a story about these eggs.

About a year after I was living with an old girlfriend (chinese), I was cleaning out some cupboards, and notice this two-pack of eggs, weird colour, in the back of the shelf. I showed it to her, and she said 'oh those are 100 year eggs." I got grossed out.

But a year or so later, she decided it was time to eat them.

It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO bad. The smell.... the smell when she cooked them. I literally had to leave the apartment for a full day. I haven't puked for about 14 years now, but that day, the smell alone was enough to bring me close to retching. I have not smelled anything worse in my life, and I'm including some of nature's worst smells.

I left for half a day, came back, and insisted she get every fan we had (3), and run them to thoroughly air out the place. Even that evening, some 8 hours after she ate them, I couldn't stay in the place. I ate dinner outside, I stayed outside till 11.

These things are VILE. :)

Dumpling_Girl said...

Hehe, great story, Mark! I have never noticed a smell on them. I also didn't realize you can keep them on the shelf for over a year...Maybe you and me can go to Hon's and give it another try?

Mark said...

Not on your life LOL! ;)

Jeanette said...

They hadn't been on the shelf for that long! I can say that they taste really good when you have it with sugar AND pickled ginger.

Oh ... interestingly eough, I ended up not buying the eggs again since that particular incident... I just sometimes eat it when I go out.

Didn't they used to soak the duck eggs in horse piss and manure?? That thought somewhat grossed me out!

SaabKen said...

Whoa ..... let's stay focused on the foods and not what they may be soaked in :-O

Dumpling_Girl said...

There is something on the link above (where the photos of the eggs are) about Ma Niao (ammonia) being the Mandarin for horse urine, and that being the origin of the horse piss myth. Though, I'm not sure the idea of treating the eggs with ammonia makes me feel any better. I haven't researched this any further - I'm quite happy with this being just an old myth based on a Chinese "homonym." Let's just leave it at that? I'm never going to get Mark to eat them if we keep talking about that! ;)

Anonymous said...

What an interesting blog you have! I'm curious about these eggs . . . are they buried raw or cooked first? Can they be eaten "as is" once you dig them up, or must you cook them?

I'll be honest, I'm not at all adventurous when it comes to food (and a vegetarian to boot) but I love learning about food from other cultures.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your comment! I believe the eggs are buried raw, and the salts that they are preserved in actually "cook" or cure the eggs - like how salting fish preserves the flesh by denaturing the protein, which is what cooking with heat does. Other examples of cooking without heat are marinating seafood in lemon and lime juices to make ceviche, where the acids do the cooking. Or making gravlox, cured salmon. The century eggs are then usually eaten without further cooking.

Anonymous said...

good god! what misinformation there is out there and how uninformed people can be and yet still post!

these eggs are cured in a solution of salt and lye. traditionally the lye came from wood ash and the curing was done in a mud-like mixture of clay, ash, salt, and some kind of tree needles. when the egg is ready, you can actually see the outline of the needles on the surface of the egg.

as for the anecdote about boiling these eggs, that is something simply not done. so mark's girlfriend, in spite of being chinese, didn't know what she was doing. how strange.

Dumpling_Girl said...

I don't see what I have posted that contradicts what you have said. Please elaborate if I have any misinformation, and specify exactly what is wrong. That's the beauty of this format - that a discussion can be had among anyone in the world by using the comment feature. If you click on the "weird gelatinous..." link that is in the original post, you can see quite a good description of the process, and photos. Also, I think it would be nice if everyone signed their comments with a name (even a pseudonym). Thanks.

Poor girl said...

I just had two of those eggs on saturday. And my whole mouth and throat is burned. Today is my 6th day after eating that. My face is still swollen and my mouth and throat is infected. On antibiotics now. The Doc said that it's from chemical burn. It seems like I have 20 canker sore in my mouth, on my gum, under my tounge and by the throat.

I will NEVER have those eggs again. (but then...being chinese..I will have them in Congee probably in a couple years.)

filbert said...

Yeah, I know this is an old post... but I LOVE these things. So tasty, but I guess I was raised on them. Anyway, there's info about it on Yahoo: http://ask.yahoo.com/20011114.html

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your comment and link, Filbert! I just recently had a interesting Chinese pastry. It was a flaky pastry crust surrounding a whole (yes, really!) thousand year old egg, with a sweet ginger custardy filling. It was one of a multi-coloured collection of pretty pastries given at my cousin's engagement party...there's some symbolism and tradition to do with the bride to be, and a box of these bridal cakes were given out to each family attending. Anyhow, that egg one was incredibly rich and heavy, but sort of nice, and it's interesting to eat these eggs as a sweet rather than a savoury dish.

A site about the tradition:
http://www.chinatown.com.au/eng/article.asp?masterid=183&articleid=828

Pete said...

Hi, I am interested in trying it. Where can I get these eggs in US?

Dumpling_Girl said...

Hi Pete, Well, I have no idea where in the U.S. you are, or even whether you're in a big city or a small town, but it's a Chinese item, so go to your local Asian grocery store if you have one, and ask. I once lived in a small town of only 90,000 people, and I still had an Asian store to go to. If your city has a Chinatown, go there to look.

SuperNinja4 said...

I have been curious about these eggs for about a month now.

There are 3 local asian food stores in my area, and they all stock them.
One thing I was wondering, but couldn't find any info about (on the internet), was proper storage of these eggs. The packaging of all the ones that I saw locally state that they should be kept refrigerated, but all 3 stores had them stored (in the sealed packaging) on their shelves at room temperature.

There's no telling how long those packages have been on their shelves.
How long can they be kept (in sealed packaging) at room temperature???

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