After my first disastrous  tasting of  century eggs I received a lot of feedback. Outside of the people who were revolted, there was a large group of people who thought I either got a bad egg or that I was just eating it wrong.

eating-wrong

To the latter point, I say bah. If you have to bury an item in other things in order to make it palatable, then I see no point in eating it. When I am tasting things I want to try them in the closest possible form to raw. On the other hand, the folks who looked at the pictures, read the description,and decided I might have received a bad egg made a more compelling case for a retest.

Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more.

century-eggs

I made sure to get a new brand, from a new store, in the hopes of eliminating another bad egg tasting. These were individually wrapped, but not shrink wrapped like the last batch. I opened a bag, took a whiff, and was greeted with my old friend ammonia. I almost stopped the tasting right then. The terrible ammonia odor and taste was really the death knell for the previous tasting. Instead I soldiered on.

century-egg-on-plate

I peeled it and there it was, in all it’s inky black glory. All the while the smell of a dirty litter box kept making it’s way into my nose. Why was I doing this again? I tried to use my egg slicer again and it would not cut through. I was applying a good amount of pressure it it was just squeezing the egg. The look of terror on my wife’s face as she watched it bulge and warp, threatening to burst, was enough to make me go grab the knife. I cut up a few slices

cutting-into-century-egg

 and I was pleasantly surprised. The yolk did not ooze out like the last one. Maybe there was something to the bad egg theory after all. I decided to break my own rule for this tasting and prepared a batch of congee to try my century egg in.

congee-century-egg

I chopped up a chunk of egg, sprinkled it into my congee along with some dried shrimp, and hoped for the best. The first bite was just straight egg and congee.

dried-shrimp-congee-century-egg

I have to be honest, it was pretty good. No ammonia in the taste at all, just an earthy funkiness like shitake mushrooms sometimes have. The “white” of the egg doesn’t have a very good texture, but the yolk was creamy and smooth. I tried another bite to be sure that the fumes hadn’t knocked me into a dream state. Same results as the first, I dare say I kind of liked it. The last test was a piece all on it’s own

prepared-century-egg

Oh hell, that was actually pretty tasty too. The texture was still off-putting but the flavor was good. Without the strong ammonia scent I was able to appreciate the rich, earthy intensity of the yolk.

I don’t know that I am going eat the other 5 in my fridge but I have to recant my original ranking and give century eggs a “What the heck, try it”

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8 Responses

  1. Chris Malone

    Hey, if your experience with the eggs got better than the first time, why not try something new to accomodate the insanity from that whiff of ammonia, which apparently puts the fear of God in people, to the first initial bite and taste? I could never do that, so I have to hand it to you. I only like my eggs scrambled or fried.

    My first initial reaction to those eggs: get a blow torch.

    Reply
  2. Ephemeral Noms

    I respect the hell out of you for trying it again. As Andrew Zimmern says: try it at least twice before you decide you don’t like it. I’m glad you did kind of like it, as well.

    Let me take issue with one of your statements: there is a reason for people to historically have “disgusting” food like this, though not in this modern day.

    Any way to preserve high-calorie food such that, when consumed, it doesn’t make you sick (but may not be very tasty) was of high historical use.

    Century Eggs were a way to preserve eggs in time of plenty so that things were easier when times got hard. Sprinkling a heavy dose of spring onions and grimacing was a small price to pay to get something nutritious in your stomach when you otherwise would have nothing.

    Reply
  3. Mark

    I completely agree with you Ephemeral Noms, I have tried to change my attitude on things like this. Survival depended upon preservation, even if the end result was less than palatable. My point was more around some of the criticism I received from the last tasting that I was somehow eating it wrong. When I do these tastings I try to eat the raw product as much as possible. Thanks for reading and the feedback.

    Reply
  4. celesul

    Both the liquid inside and solid inside century eggs are *safe* to eat, but I tend to find the ones with gooey yolks somehow unpalatable. You can guess what you’re probably getting by what the picture of the egg on the box looks like.

    Reply
  5. Dan

    Prepare it with Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Chives, and Hot pepper if you like. Don’t simply mix them. Heat 2 spoon oil hot, inferno hot (if your pan catches fire then you learn more about cooking and heat control, Chinese chefs do it intentionally on daily base). pour hot oil on the dish and well mix them. Yummy. By the way, very few people eat plain century eggs.

    Reply
  6. c2t

    I’m glad that you tried it again. The gooey one didn’t sound too good. Being Asian, I’ve had this egg since childhood & never had a gooey one. It’s a delicacy as you may know that’s not meant to be consumed regularly. I really like them & occasionally eat with rice. Traditionally, it’s prepared by slicing each egg in quarters. Place them in a small dish. Pour a little soy sauce & sesame oil on top & serve traditional family style with other dishes. (As someone mentioned above, rarely do people eat it alone.) The fragrant smell of the sesame oil takes away the foul odor you mentioned. (This is funny to me because since I was little girl til now I have never taken a whiff or smelled the eggs. Maybe it was gut instincts for me not to. LOL!) Also, the soy sauce seasons it well & gives it a delightful flavor. When prepared this way, it’s delicious with rice. Hope you try it this way & try not to take a whiff of the smell before you put sesame oil on top! LOL!

    Reply

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