Tuesday, April 27, 2010

That Duck Egg Is How Old?

Posted by He Said

Those of you who know me well know that I am a picky eater.  One rule my mother burned into my skull is if you are a guest in someone’s home, you eat what you are served.

That rule has been hard for me over the years.  I have sat at many tables and choked and washed down what I have been served.  I suspect many times it was far from convincingly.  Thanks mom, the one childhood rule I haven’t forgotten is yours and I will likely never forgive you for it.

This rule has applied here, and although eating in restaurants with coworkers doesn’t exactly fit the bill, I have still tried to eat what I have been served.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Feet
Pickled Cows Tongue
Blood Tofu (made of coagulated blood)
Partridge Eggs
Counterfeit Wine
Fish served with the head still on
Shrimp which you have to behead, de-leg and gut before eating (to be fair I have done this with crawdads several times)
Fried milk (yeah, not really sure what it was, but we ordered it again)
Fish and squid balls (who knew they had balls big enough to eat)

Those are my favorites of course. This week I went with the manager Johnny to lunch and he ordered for me.  This always kinda freaks me out because I feel obligated to eat what is served even if I don’t like it or it visually is disturbing to me. Two items came to the table.  The main dish was delicious.  The second dish freaked me out to say the least.

Let’s put it this way, they did NOT have Green Ham, but the duck eggs on the other hand? They look just like this.


and thisPicking_up_century_egg_by_Mandru_in_IncheonThis image was originally posted to Flickr by Mandru at

I ate them.  In fact, I ate half the plate.  Frankly they tasted like…well, hard boiled eggs with some additional complex flavors.  Dipped in the vinegar on the plate they were quite interesting.  The white of the egg, excuse me, the brown translucent gel surrounding the yolk was flavorless.

But hey, lets get right to the interesting part regarding the discovery of these eggs.  Stolen right from Wikipedia.

“Its discovery, though not verifiable, was said to have occurred during the Ming dynasty 600 years ago in Hunan, when a home owner discovered duck eggs in a shallow pool of slaked lime that was used for mortar during construction of his home 2 months before.”

Wow, isn’t that fascinating.  Six hundred years ago this process was discovered when a home owner finds 2 month old eggs in a shallow pool of slaked lime.


But wait, lets get to the best part.

“Upon tasting the eggs he set out to produce more…”

Wait lets stop here. UPON TASTING THE EGGS? That’s right, he just found these old duck eggs which had been sitting in a shallow pool of lime outside (likely in the summertime) whose color had transitioned beyond any normal egg ever seen on this planet.  The egg white having turned gelatinous brown, the yolk several layers of various green … AND HE ATE THEM?  And people make fun of Nevada rednecks.

Ok, let’s put the whole sentence here for context.

“Upon tasting the eggs he set out to produce more, this time with the addition of salt to improve this taste, thus resulting in the present recipe of the century egg.[3]

Yes, salt.  We all know salt helps bring out those complex flavors. In 2 month old eggs … mmm… a nice bouquet with hints of chocolate, coffee and pear with a nice slaked lime finish.


  1. Really, do you blame him for trying it?

    The first guy to ever try an egg said to himself (or herself): "Hey, what's that thing that just came out of that duck's/chicken's/quail's/etc butt? I think I am going to try it and see if it tastes good."

    It's not really a stretch for the next guy to say: "Hey, that duck butt thing sat outside for 2 months. I get drunk off rice/corn/barley/etc that sat out too long, so I am going to try this out and see what happens."

  2. Wow. I'm impressed. Very impressed.

  3. Are you going to eat century chicken next? Or were you supposed to eat that first?

  4. I'm impressed. I'll eat just about anything, especially animal products and by-products, but eggs so old they've turned brown and green? Umm... That counterfeit wine would have to be exceptional.

  5. I wonder how many doctor's visits this would pay for? Seriously, we might be on to something.