A mixture of salty and sweet, soft and crunchy and slimy and crispy, this dish is a great example of a 'love it or hate it' flavor profile! In Chinese, it's called 皮蛋, or pídàn, meaning leather or skin egg. In English, it's commonly referred to as Century Egg or Thousand Year Egg.
The secret to this iconic Chinese egg dish is in its process of preservation, a feat that may take up to several months at a time. The result is a perfectly fermented jewel of an egg, the color of dark coffee egg white and crystal-jade tinted yolk when sliced open.
Although the initial sulfur and ammonia smell may be off putting at first whiff, the flavor profile can be addictive!
By far, my favorite way of eating it is the way it's pictured in the photo above, placed alongside a block of cold tofu with katsuobushi, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Ts is a very Taiwanese way of preparation.
Although the egg itself can also be eaten alone, there are many other ways of serving it as well, like mixed in omelets or stirred in congee.
Following is a recipe I found on AllRecipes of a tasty congee version using this Chinese egg. I've been given this before by my Taiwanese friends whenever I had a cold or felt sick, and it always helped me feel better!
Pork and Century Egg Rice Congee Recipe
Recipe by Lea Eats
"This traditional Chinese breakfast rice porridge is filling, cheap, warming, and oh so good. I like my rice well broken down and therefore use a short-grain rice and a longer cooking time. I hope you enjoy! Serve hot in small bowls, garnished with a drop of oyster sauce, chopped scallion greens, and small slices of yau ja gwai (fried chinese bread stick, or chinese crullers)."
Image of congee by Yasmina Haryono, used under Creative Commons License.
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...