Saturday, January 2, 2010

Duck Eggs: Thousand-Year and Salted

I was recently in an Asian market and saw salted duck eggs. I decided I needed to give them a try. They are made by soaking duck eggs in brine or by packing them in damp, salted charcoal.

These were wrapped in plastic and vacuum packed.

The duck egg (bottom right) compared to a chicken egg.

I did not read up on them before trying one. I opened it and was a bit put-off by the runny yoke. I was also not prepared for how salty it was. It was almost like an anchovie. My mind played games with me. How did the salt get in? Why was the yoke runny? Was it spoiled? I ate some but did not enjoy it. I now read that they are mixed with other foods as a seasoning and that the runny nature of it is usual. I think I would do better with it a second time.

A week or so later we were visiting Andrew in Los Angeles and he'd just been to Chinatown and had purchased thousand-year eggs. Again, I knew nothing about them before trying it. Andrew started chipping away the outer shell, revealing a black specked membrane underneath.

Then the real shock - the shiny, obsidian looking black egg underneath. The color, along with the name, create real mind-games. Plus it had a mild stinky, sulphury smell.

Andrew pointed out the leafy patterns in the egg-white (black) and held it up to a light. It had a look of petroleum with fossils stamped in it.

Then the real gut-wrencher, the egg cut open revealing a black, moldy looking yolk. Andrew mentioned he threw-up when he ate the yolk. That also didn't help my mind set.

I had him cut off several chunks of the egg-white (black) with a piece of yolk, excluding the runny middle (the part Andrew said was so hard to deal with texturally). To my surprise it had no taste. The egg-white had a rubbery texture but there really was no taste. But it is one heck of a mind-game eating one. I've since read that they are made by putting them in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice hull for several weeks to several months. These look a lot worse than salted duck egg, but are actually better tasting. I'll not be standing in line to buy any of these duck eggs soon, but it was fun to try them.

1 comment:

  1. ... I'm still laughing out loud! - This is one of my favorites.