In the Western world, few foods are as mysterious or repulsive as the century egg. This gelatinous and greenish-black delicacy is also called a hundred-year-old egg, millennium egg, and thousand-year-old egg, depending on where you’re from. If you’ve never seen a century egg before, imagine a slightly translucent yellowish-brown egg, about the size of a golf ball, with an off-putting sulphuric smell. If that sounds like something you would want to eat, then read on for everything you need to know about these bizarre snacks – what a century egg is, the taste of a century egg, what health benefits it provides, and how to eat it.
What Is A Century Egg?
Century eggs also called hundred-year eggs or thousand-year eggs, are a Chinese delicacy that dates back to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). They are made by preserving duck, quail, or chicken eggs in clay, salt, ash, and lime for 1-4 months, so no, century eggs are not actually 100 years old! This process changes the chemical composition of the egg whites, resulting in a dark brown color and a distinct flavor.
Century eggs are served cold and can be sliced or diced like hard-boiled eggs. They are often eaten as part of dim sum or at breakfast alongside congee (rice porridge). Despite their reputation for being an acquired taste, century eggs are actually quite mild in flavor and have a pleasantly chewy texture.
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Century eggs are very popular in Asia and are served on special occasions. In 2021, over 2.8 million tons of century eggs were eaten in China alone! And the popularity of century eggs is only growing.
Is a century egg a rotten egg? Century eggs are not rotten eggs. Century eggs are made by marinating raw duck or chicken eggs in a mixture of ash, salt, herbs, and spices for at least one month. The marinade creates an alkaline environment that allows the eggs to rot from the inside out.
The resulting egg is rich in sulfur, iron, and potassium. The flavor and texture of the century egg are comparable to a very strong, slightly bitter semi-hard cheese.
Century Egg Flavor Profile – What Does A Century Egg Taste Like?
What do century eggs taste like? Century eggs have a creamy, pungent flavor with a mildly salty and savory taste profile. They also have a dark grey-green color with a slightly rubbery but smooth texture reminiscent of custard. Century eggs are slightly crunchy on the outside, while the inside has a soft, creamy texture.
The white of the century egg is gelatinous. reminiscent of a soy sauce-flavored jello. The yolk has the texture of a Brie cheese, and tastes earthy, creamy, and sort of like a boiled yolk mixed with blue cheese, with an ammoniac after bite same as in ripe Bries. It pairs well with (chili, garlic, soy, vinegar, sliced cucumbers/tofu) or (diced into chicken/pork congees). By itself, century egg taste can be too ammonia-ey, but when paired properly, it contrasts/brings out the flavor of the other ingredients.
Some say that century eggs have a strong, earthy aroma and a pungent, fishy taste reminiscent of fish sauce or soy sauce. In fact, a century egg tastes salty, metallic, and with a bit of ammonia flavor. A century egg’s texture is so silky smooth that you will want to top it with something juicy and crunchy like pickled ginger or tofu.
The process of preserving century eggs also results in the formation of prussic acid which gives them an unusual smoky taste. The process of making century eggs can take up to 4 months, but the result is an egg with a dark brown, almost black, shell and an interior that resembles a jellyfish. 100 year old egg taste goes well with rice or noodles, but can also be added to stir-fries and salads.
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Are century eggs nasty? Century eggs have a rich, tangy flavor and a creamy texture, which is not nasty at all! However, the taste of century eggs is an acquired taste. It’s definitely not a snack that everyone enjoys, but, if you’re looking to try something new, then give century eggs a go.
Because of the color and texture of century eggs, many people assume that they have gone bad or are unsafe to eat. However, century eggs are completely safe to consume as long as they have been properly preserved and handled. While century eggs may seem strange to people who aren’t used to eating them, they are a delicious and unique ingredient that can add some interesting flavors to any meal.
How To Eat Century Eggs?
Century eggs are commonly eaten as an appetizer or snack but are also a common side dish. Some of the most popular ways to eat century eggs include: served over rice, fried with scrambled eggs, with green vegetables, or as a topping for a hamburger or sandwich.
It is not uncommon to see century eggs sold at street food stalls or dim sum restaurants in Asian countries such as China and Taiwan. They are also used in many Chinese dishes such as congee and stir-fried vegetables.
Century eggs are commonly served at Chinese weddings, family gatherings, and formal feasts. Century eggs are most commonly eaten sliced and served cold with rice or noodles. They can also be added to stir-fries and soups. Century eggs are particularly popular during Chinese New Year. Century eggs are easy to store and can last for a long time, and are considered to bring good fortune.
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Why Are Century Eggs Black?
Century eggs are black due to the Maillard reaction, which provides a dark brown hue in a highly alkaline environment. Because of the long, complex process of pickling and fermentation, the eggs turn a deep black color and develop a strong, pungent smell. The texture of the egg also changes slightly, becoming soft and gelatinous. The eggs also gain a high concentration of umami flavor.
Century Egg Health Benefits
What is the benefit of century eggs? In addition to their unique flavor, century eggs have been prized throughout history for their health benefits. They’re rich in nutrients like protein, vitamins A and B12, and minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium. Century eggs are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin D, and are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants that promote eye health.
Century eggs also contain important nutrients like choline and omega-3 fatty acids. Choline is a nutrient that plays an important role in brain function. It helps to build neurotransmitters that send messages from one neuron to another. In addition, it plays a role in maintaining the structure of cell membranes and in the synthesis of DNA and proteins.
How many calories is a century egg? One century egg contains 130 calories, 9.6 grams of fat (saturated fat – 2.6 g), 529 mg of sodium, 155 mg of potassium, 1 g of carbs, 0,7 g of sugar, and 619 mg of cholesterol.
Century eggs, also known as hundred-year eggs or thousand-year eggs, are a popular Asian delicacy made by preserving duck eggs in a mixture of ash, salt, and clay for several weeks to several months, depending on the desired level of softness. Century eggs have a pungent smell and a strong flavor that is a mix of salty, sour, and bitter flavors. While they are eaten in other parts of Asia, they are not as popular in the West.
Century eggs are most commonly eaten sliced and served cold with rice or noodles. They can also be added to stir-fries and soups. Additionally, they can be added to risotto, pasta, and stews. Century eggs are high in protein, iron, and vitamins A and B6.
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Century Eggs FAQ
What is a 100 year old duck egg?
A century duck egg is an egg that has been cured and preserved with a mixture of clay, ash, and salt. It is commonly eaten in Asia and was introduced to the United States in the early 1990s.
Is century egg chicken or duck?
A century egg is usually made from duck, however, chicken or quail eggs can also be used.
Is a century egg high in cholesterol?
Century eggs are very high in cholesterol. One century egg contains 619 mg of cholesterol, which is 206% of the daily value!
Are century eggs yummy?
Century eggs are an acquired taste. Though century eggs may taste slightly like ammonia and bitter herbs, many people enjoy eating them because they are full of umami flavor. They are also high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Can you eat century egg raw? Are century eggs precooked?
Century eggs have already been cured for 30-45 days (sometimes 3-4 months), so they are already precooked and do not need further cooking.
Do century eggs expire?
Century eggs have a long shelf life. Unopened, they can last in the fridge for up to a year, however, we recommend eating freshly made century eggs to prevent food poisoning due to improper storage.
Are century eggs expensive?
Century eggs are rather pricy. According to Amazon, 4 pcs century egg pack costs $28.99, or $7.2 per egg. You can try making your own century eggs to make them cheaper.