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Home » Additives, Ingredients

Century or Thousand Year Old Egg

Submitted by on June 6, 2011 – 8:52 pm2 Comments | 12,058 views

Ingredient Name: Century Egg, Thousand Year Old Egg, Preserved Egg

Traditional Chinese Name: 皮蛋 (pídàn)

What is this?

  • An egg that dates back as early as the 1640’s in literature and discovered by the Chinese
  • The preserved egg of a duck, chicken or quail that is preserved in clay, ash, salt, lime that preserves the egg (the process takes a few weeks to a few months depending on the process)
  • The yolk becomes semi-solid and is gray to dark green in color and has a creamy texture and is said to have a “golden” taste (but is slightly bitter)
  • The egg white becomes a brown jelly like substance (and is almost flavorless)
  • The eggs have a strong hydrogen sulfide and ammonia smell
  • This traditional Chinese egg is served and prepared in various ways (appetizer, in soups, in congee, with tofu, rice and others methods) or used as a condiment

How do I prepare it?

  • Bought with the clay still in tact is common both in supermarkets and wet marts
  • Rinse the entire egg under water while peeling away both the outer layer and shell
  • Use a sharp knife to cut into pieces

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will sell them in packs
  • Wet marts will also sell them individually

What is the cost

  • 1 pack of 4 from the supermarket costs around $30 HKD
  • The price varies depending on the producer

Any benefits?

  • It is an excellent way to preserve eggs (especially from spoiling)
  • Adds a unique flavor and texture to other dishes that is difficult to replicate with other ingredients

Any precautions?

  • In recent studies, it has been shown that century eggs have high amounts of lead oxide (by the way they are produced to speed the curing process)
  • This type of egg (especially raw) is not for everyone and is usually an acquired taste
  • Extremely high in cholesterol so consume with caution

Additional Information

  • You can store this ingredient in a tight sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 months (be sure to check expiry label if applicable)
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2 Comments »

  • Erin says:

    Is it save to eat Century Egg during pregnancy?

  • LadyTong says:

    Hi Erin, to be safe, I’d say no. There are warnings that century eggs contain high amounts of lead (because of the fermenting process), so really, maybe stay away until you give birth or are finished breastfeeding. Why take the risk? That’s my thoughts, but I’m sure there are those who have eaten it during pregnancy with no ill effects. Lisa

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