Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weird Food Wednesdays: Century Egg

My inaugural post in a series of musings about strange delicacies around the world is about one of my all-time favorite foods, the Century Egg (a.k.a thousand year old egg)! If you are Chinese, you know exactly what I'm talking about. For everyone else, it's "Fear Factor" time! Seriously, I once saw century eggs featured on a Fear Factor food challenge and told Kris to sign me up cause I would totally win (never mind the extreme physical challenges). Century eggs are not really a hundred or a thousand years old, probably only a few weeks or months old. Chicken or duck eggs are preserved in clay, ash, lime and salt until the whites turn dark and gelatinous, and the yolks turn a creamy grayish-green. I think the lime actually petrifies the egg. The whites aren't terribly flavorful, but I like them for their strange jelly-like texture. It's hard to describe the taste of the yolk -the words pungent and sulphurous come to mind but don't sound terribly appetizing, do they? Maybe the best comparison would be to a soft-ripened fermented cheese, malodorous but still enjoyed by many. Century egg is commonly found in Century Egg & Pork Congee, a Chinese rice porridge (and my idea of comfort food) typically found in Chinatown noodle houses. While growing up, my family ate century egg several times a month (probably why we all have high cholesterol now). But everything's fine in moderation. You can also find packaged century eggs in your local Asian food market. So give them a try. And for all you doubters out there, keep in mind that Kris, who had never tried anything more exotic than General Tso's Chicken before he met me, can't get enough of century egg. Tune in next week for the world's stinkiest fruit...