Have you ever heard of a century egg? Also known as a thousand-year egg or hundred-year egg, they are preserved eggs made by curing duck or quail eggs in an alkaline mixture for months to years.
With such an intriguing name, it’s no wonder many people would love to try them – after all, who doesn’t like the idea of tasting something that is centuries old? But what does a century egg taste like? Join us on this journey of discovery and exploration into the mysterious world of century eggs!
What Is A Century Egg?
A century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, black egg, thousand-year egg, or millennium egg, is a traditional Chinese delicacy made by preserving duck eggs, quail eggs, or chicken eggs in a mixture of clay, salt ash, rice hulls, and quicklime for several weeks to several months.
The name “century egg” comes from the lengthy preservation process that gives these eggs their unique flavor and distinctive appearance.
What Does A Century Egg Taste Like?
So, you’re curious about what a century egg tastes like? Well, let’s dive right in. The taste of a century egg is quite unique and unlike any other egg, you’ve likely tried before.
The egg yolk of a century egg is often described as having a creamy, succulent taste that is slightly cheesy with a hint of sulfur. The egg white, on the other hand, takes on a jelly-like consistency and has a salty flavor. Don’t be surprised by its dark color; that’s just a part of the process.
Now, when it comes to the overall century egg taste, it’s definitely an acquired one. It’s a complex taste, a symphony of simultaneously strong yet subtle yet bold yet nuanced flavors. Some even say century eggs taste like good, aged blue cheese!
What Does A Century Egg Smell Like?
The unique curing process century eggs undergo results in a pungent odor and strong taste that can be quite surprising for first-time tasters. Upon cracking the egg, one is met with a strong, sulfur-like smell.
This pungent smell is integral to the century egg experience and is often described as similar to ammonia or hydrogen sulfide. Despite the unpleasant smell, the flavor of the egg is quite complex and rich. It brings a depth of umami flavor, offering a mix of creamy, salty, and slightly sweet notes.
What Does A Century Egg Look Like?
A century egg, often made from preserved duck eggs, undergoes a unique transformation that gives it a distinctive appearance and taste. The egg white turns into a translucent dark brown, jelly-like substance, and the yolk turns dark green color.
The yolk also develops a creamy texture, unlike a typical hard-boiled egg yolk. This process can also be applied to quail eggs, resulting in a smaller but equally intriguing version of the century egg. Despite its unusual look, the century egg is a cherished delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
Does Century Egg Taste Good?
Century eggs, often referred to as hundred-year-old eggs, have a unique taste that might not be for everyone but can become an acquired taste for some.
The flavor profile of these eggs is rich, complex, and bold, with a distinctive earthy and ammonia-like flavor, often compared to ripe blue cheese. This is due to the sulfur amino acids present in the eggs.
While the taste of century eggs might be initially off-putting to some, those who grow to enjoy them often find the taste good and even addictive.
Does Century Egg Go Bad?
Like all food products, century eggs can go bad over time, though they tend to have a longer shelf life due to their preservation process.
If stored properly in a cool place, they can last several months. Always ensure to check your century egg before consumption to prevent any health risks associated with spoiled food.
How To Tell If A Century Egg Has Gone Bad?
There are some methods to check if a century egg has gone bad. One way is to fill a container with water and put the egg in it. If the egg sinks, it’s safe to eat. However, if the egg floats, it is advisable to discard it as it has likely gone bad.
Another way is to taste the egg. If it tastes unpleasant or sour, it’s probably not good.
Century eggs are preserved food that can last long, possibly even years, especially when unopened. They can last three to five months in storage. Once you peel an egg, consuming it within 24 hours is recommended.
Century Eggs Vs. Fresh Eggs
Century eggs, also known as thousand-year eggs and fresh eggs, are two very different types of eggs that are often compared due to their unique characteristics.
Fresh eggs are a staple in many diets worldwide. They’re high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Fresh eggs are versatile and can be used in several dishes, from breakfast items like scrambled eggs and omelettes to desserts like cakes and cookies.
Century eggs, on the other hand, are a Chinese delicacy made by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, quicklime ash, salt, and rice hulls for several weeks.
The yolk of a century egg is dark green or gray, and the white becomes a dark brown, translucent jelly with a salty flavor. The yolk is creamy and has a strong aroma, while the egg white has a gelatinous texture.
Which Egg Is Good For Making A Century Egg?
When making a century egg, traditionally, a duck egg is preferred due to its rich and creamy yolk. The larger size of the duck egg allows for a more pronounced transformation during the curing process, resulting in a unique texture and flavor that’s cherished in a century egg.
Quail eggs, while smaller, can also be used and provide a delicate version of the century egg.
How To Make A Century Egg?
Century eggs, also known as preserved eggs or aged eggs, are a traditional Asian delicacy made from duck, quail, or chicken eggs. Commercially produced century eggs can be made in as little as two weeks.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make century eggs:
- Choose Your Eggs: Most recipes start with a duck egg, but you can also use chicken, goose, or quail eggs. Do not select the eggs having cracked shells.
- Prepare The Curing Mixture: Mix wood ash, salt, and calcium oxide (also known as quicklime or burnt lime) in a strong black tea. Some recipes recommend adding lead oxide for added flavor, though this is an optional step due to health concerns.
- Coat The Eggs: Coat the eggs with the curing mixture, making sure to cover them completely.
- Preserve The Eggs: Roll the coated eggs in rice husks, which helps to preserve eggs.
- Age The Eggs: Place the eggs in an earthen pot and let them age for about two weeks.
- Crack The Shells: After two weeks, the shells should be lightly cracked but still intact.
- Serve: The eggs can now be peeled and served. They have a unique, rich flavor that is quite different from fresh eggs.
Note: This is a simplified process, and the method may vary based on the recipe. Follow food safety guidelines when making and eating century eggs.
Should You Cook Century Eggs?
The question often arises whether you need to cook century egg or not. The curing process makes century eggs edible as they are, requiring no further preparation.
You can simply peel and consume them, making them a convenient and intriguing addition to your meals.
How To Serve Century Eggs?
Century eggs, a delicacy known for their unique taste and texture, can be served in various ways. Here are some recommendations:
Quartered With Pickled Ginger
One of the traditional methods to eat century eggs is to quarter them and serve them with pickled ginger. This combination helps cut through the rich flavor of the eggs, offering a balanced taste experience.
Sliced Into Wedges
Century eggs can be simply sliced into wedges and served as they are. They are ready to eat once peeled, so no additional cooking is required.
Century eggs can also be used as a congee or rice porridge topping. They can be added along with other ingredients like fish, tofu, and crispy fried dough to create a comforting bowl of deliciousness.
Century Egg Salad
A popular recipe involves making a salad with century eggs. The ingredients include Chinese black vinegar, toasted sesame oil, low-sodium , and chili oil.
Is A Century Egg Really A 100-Year-Old Egg?
Despite the name, Century eggs (millennium eggs) are not actually 100 years old. The name is a bit of an exaggeration. The term “Century egg” is a translation of the Chinese name (pidan), and it’s also known as a thousand-year egg or millennium egg.
However, these eggs are not preserved for hundreds or thousands of years. They’re typically preserved for several weeks to a few months. This preservation process involves curing the eggs in a mixture that often includes clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls.
The result is an egg that has a dark green or black color, a jelly-like texture, and a strong, complex flavor.
Where To Buy Century Eggs?
Century eggs can be bought from various platforms, both online and in physical stores. Here are some options:
- Amazon: They offer Century Eggs in packs of four and other variations. You can find them by searching for “Century Eggs” on the Amazon website.
- Asian Veggies: This online store offers preserved duck eggs, also known as century or thousand-year-old eggs.
- Ming’s: If you’re in San Antonio, TX, Ming’s offers a pick-up option for their Century Eggs.
- Asian Supermarkets Or Specialty Stores: Most of these stores often carry packs of four or six century eggs.
- eBay: You can find new and used options for Century Duck Eggs.
So, What Does A Century Egg Taste Like?
In conclusion, the century egg is an Asian delicacy that has a unique flavor and texture. It can be made from duck, quail, or chicken eggs, and the process involves coating them with a curing mixture before letting them age for several weeks.
The finished product has a dark green or black color, a jelly-like texture, and a strong, complex flavor. Century eggs can be served quartered with pickled ginger, sliced into wedges, as a topping for congee or rice porridge, in salads, and on tofu.
They are available to buy online or from Asian supermarkets and specialty stores. So if you’re looking for an intriguing delicacy with an interesting history, the century egg is definitely worth trying!