I have had it pretty easy the last couple of tastings so I wanted to be sure I put my neck out this time. A century egg goes by many names, preserved duck egg, hundred year egg, or thousand year egg. Regardless of the name they are all created by preserving an egg in an alkaline material until its ph is raised to a safe level. I have been looking for them for a while, they were actually easy to find but I wanted to buy one, not six. I had to finally break down and get a 6 pack.


Please note the “Lead Free” on the label, that made me feel so much better about this tasting. If there is one thing I look for in my food it is a clear lead free label. Thankfully my 6 mottled green beauties were individually wrapped so I get to save the other 5 to share with others.


On their reputation alone I decided I was going to set myself up with some chasers for this one. I slit one of the packages open and was greeted with a strong ammonia scent, which was not a good sign.Green eggs and ham are one thing, green eggs that smell like cat urine are a whole different animal. Hopefully some pickled ginger and kimchi would do the trick if needed.


One positive note, the egg peeled very easily. If you are going to eat a stinky green egg at the very least it should be easy to get to. Very little is more frustrating than a hard boiled egg that wont peel. From my research I knew that the yolk of this egg would be creamy and soft, even still I figured my handy dandy egg slicer would be the right tool for the job. I had to cut slowly to be sure I didn’t mangle the egg but it worked pretty well.


The yolk was very soft and dripped in a way I wasn’t very happy about. Don’t get me wrong, I like my egg yolks runny, a good poached, over easy, soft boiled,or sunny side up egg, all of those are good in my book. I think the contrast of expectations you might have for a hard boiled egg and the color and texture of this egg are so jarring it really adds to the challenege. I was struggling to get over it even before I put a piece in my mouth. I figured this one would need some action shots. I went for the strangely translucent white first. The smell was really strong and made it tough to throw it down.


Yeah that looks sums it up. Honestly it was the scent more than the taste, it tasted like a hard boiled egg, until you breathe that is. I choked that piece down and tried to convince myself that it wasn’t so bad. On to another piece with some yolk, this was the test I really needed to take.


It was that bad. I was trying to move my head away from the taste and smell that were in my assaulting me. Again if I focused for a moment and really tried to taste it, there was a pretty good rich yolk texture and egg flavor but the wafting scent of ammonia in my nostrils was more than I was willing to put up with in order to enjoy an egg. I really wanted to like century eggs so I could wear my enjoyment of them as some kind of culinary badge of honor. Sadly I won’t be pinning that badge to my sash. While there is some interesting egg texture and flavor to be found in a century egg I can’t see the need to eat them. Century eggs are a “you don’t  have too” item for sure.

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37 Responses

  1. Eick

    I always think and say I’ll try ANYTHING. But after reading this I think you’re a braver man then I….

  2. Rodzilla

    I’m surprised. I love century eggs, I thought it was mostly the color that people couldn’t deal with. I actually limit how often I purchase them because I go through them so quickly.

  3. Mark

    I wanted to like them Rod but the strong ammonia smell was more than I could handle. I didn’t really taste enough of anything to make them worthwhile

  4. Ken Patterson-Kane

    Century eggs are a real delicacy and I enjoy them frequently with some pickled ginger. Maybe there was something wrong with the one’s you had becasue I have never seen them sold individually wrapped and have never exparienced an ammonia or cat urine smell. I think the individual wrapping may have casued a problem.

  5. Jessica

    Try having it in rice porridge in a restaurant. It’s a very common food item in dim sum or noodle places. The dish has pork and century egg in rice porridge. When it’s in the porrige, you shouldn’t be smelling it. Either I’m immune to it or I honestly don’t think the ammonia smell is that strong.

    Having the egg just like that out of the package is like eating bread instead of toast. It can be done but cooking it will enhance the taste for some.

  6. 420geezer

    They should only be eaten in congee, which eliminates the ammonia smell & become quite good.

  7. food lover

    most westerners cannot stomach the likes of century eggs, stinky tofu and durians

  8. Nido

    That century egg isnt of a good quality, even century egg eater like me dont eat the type of century, best century eggs for eating on it own are actually those that has solid yolk, not those watery ones shown (most likely not fully cooked), and best eat it with preserved ginger or just dip in it light soya sauce.

  9. Cw Tham

    Came across your post as I was searching for fishy taste in soft boiled eggs.

    I must say, you are really brave. Century egg is a delicacy of acquired taste. You won’t like it on first try, let alone you went with the stronger tasting one made with duck egg.

    Start with those made with chicken eggs, their yolks are more solid and less foul smelling. Go with plenty of pickled ginger (skip the kimchi please). As you progress, you might find yourself craving for some from time to time. Then you might wanna consider leveling up to duck egg’s.

    Another tip, we Asians slice century eggs with good old needle thread. It gives a clean slice and you can discard the thread later.

    Hope you’ll grow to like it like I do. But I can only wallop 1 egg at most, per serving. Aside from the less appetizing cause and also the health concern, which was unfounded yet.

    • Mark

      Thanks, they are definitely up for a retest. I found a new source so as soon as I can bring myself to do it I’m going to try again.

  10. Alison

    You need to remember, too, that some people are genetically “super-tasters” with more taste receptors in the tongue. Typically these people have an aversion to bitter tastes and smells. Those people who have less taste receptors are okay with bitter or ammoniacal tastes. Try this: do you dislike the taste of brocolli or dark chocolate? You are probably a supertaster, rather than having a faulty egg.

    • Mark

      Bitter flavors and I get along quite nicely. I have found a new supplier for century eggs and should be trying again soon

  11. asdf

    The yolk shoudn’t be like that. It should be more solid and of a thicker, creamier consistency, much like that of a soft goat cheese.

  12. asdf

    The yolk shouldn’t be like that. It should be more solid and of a thicker, creamier consistency, much like that of a soft goat cheese.

  13. kim

    Think you chose a bad label or got an off 6. One test product does not make for good testing or research! I recommend trying again.

  14. Chris

    Make sure yolk is solid. Don’t take it alone. Must be eaten with lots of pickled ginger TOGETHER. I like century eggs but do not eat them by itself.

  15. eMBee

    i like the soft yolk, but yes, some smell stronger than others. i haven’t noticed any difference to whether eggs were individually wrapped or now.

    my favourite way to eat them is in combination with soft tofu, soy sauce and salt as it is common in northern china where i live: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg#Uses

    greetings, eMBee.

  16. Jean

    I love these things…
    BUT they should be eaten in conjunction with something blander.
    All the people moaning that century eggs shouldn’t have an ammonia taste/smell are full of it. That’s one of the most well-known characteristics of them. It also occurs in some other preserved foods, like preserved shark.
    The individual plastic wrapping is just a modern way of keeping the air from contacting the egg as it ages; traditionally they would be encased in a claylike substance to do the same thing.

  17. Gerald Fnord

    0.) I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in disliking the runny-yoke version; now all I have to do is to find a brand that consistently delivers a firm.
    1.) On that note, I might try to find a traditionally-made one, that is a brand that coats the egg with mud/lime/salt, rather than the modern sort.
    2.) People have mentioned congee. I just wanted to add that it works for me because congee is basically insanely bland, and something that would have been obnoxious in quantity can be wonderful as a spice—I never eat whole scallions or ginger-root, but love both in my food, especially congee.
    3.) If you like this congee, it is very easy to make (and fairly quick with a pressure cooker), cheap, and (for a non-diabetic) moderately healthy.

  18. Oanh Nguyen

    Nothing looks wrong with the egg. All of my century eggs has been individually wrapped and the center was always creamy and and somewhat runny like the picture. they’re so yummy!

  19. Noel

    I guess it is an acquired taste,…and smell, too. It’s for the adventurous. And it can be intimidating. It’s so much better though than driving through rush hour traffic.

  20. Ray

    Century Eggs are made from raw eggs. However, they can be eaten either raw or cooked (generally hard boiled). They can also be bought in both forms.
    Raw century egg have a much stronger flavour and smell but have a creamier texture (runny yolk).
    Cooked century eggs have much less smell, a solid yolk and a much springier texture overall as the white also becomes harder.

  21. Culvor

    I’m an Asian who loves eating century eggs.Maybe you should try the traditional ones for century eggs.Theyre the types I always eat and I really like them.They don’t smell of anything to me at all and also,to me,the worst part is only getting the mud of the egg lol.And really,do not try to eat them alone,cos they taste quite strong,especially the yolk.I always eat them with congee.

  22. FoodTaster

    If you want to taste it, try eating little portions. When I say little, I mean really small portions. That’s how you eat century eggs, unless you are a century egg lover.

  23. Nancy

    If you want to properly eat the eggs make pork and century egg congee soup. I am a chinese american and I cannot stand the eggs by itself. However it is really good in the rice porridge. It gets rid of the ammonia scent and my favorite part is the yolk with a good spoonful of the porridge. I dislike the gelatinous outer texture and make sure u cook the egg in the porridge a bit, not just adding it in cold (though you can, just more ammonia scent).

    • Tom

      Bingo, Chinese American here as well. I don’t think they are meant for being served uncooked out of the package like that. They are meant to cook with congee, pork, and ginger. That combination of flavor is the best comfor food around.

  24. Min

    Don’t like the runny-yoke so usually boiled the century egg. Goes well with most kind of congee. I made ‘turkey sweetcorn’ or ‘turkey ginkgo nuts’ congee and add those eggs and congee taste delicious!


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