- Gordon Dumoulin
Eggs are not just eggs in China...
𝘌𝘨𝘨𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘨𝘨𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢... 𝘖𝘶𝘳 𝘦𝘨𝘨 𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘵
Ever tasted or heard about following eggs sold at the market booth ?
咸蛋 (xián dàn) or '𝘀𝗮𝗹𝘁 𝗲𝗴𝗴𝘀'. Salt-preserved eggs, commonly put in savory porridge.
皮蛋 (pí dàn) or '𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘂𝗿𝘆 𝗲𝗴𝗴𝘀'. Originally covered and preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt and quicklime, removing oxygen for preservation. The egg white turns into a transparent brownish jello-like substance while the egg yolk turns gray to black. The century eggs are great with fresh tofu or a salad as a cold dish or in a hot porridge.
毛蛋 (máo dàn) or '𝗳𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗲𝗴𝗴𝘀', also called 末蛋 (mò dàn) 'end-stage egg' are usually called balut in English (derived from the Filipino language). Balut is as well popular,especially in the Philippines but also in Vietnam and some other South-East Asian countries, believed to have been brought by Chinese immigrants in older times.
Baluts are fertilized developing duck or chicken egg embryos that are boiled and eaten from the shell. The length of incubation before the egg is cooked is a matter of local preference, but generally ranges between 14 and 21 days.
Apart from the special prepared eggs and 'regular' chicken eggs in different qualities; quail, duck and goose eggs are available.
Also '𝘁𝗲𝗮 𝗲𝗴𝗴𝘀' 茶叶蛋 ('tea leaf egg') are usually available; the skin of boiled eggs are slightly cracked and then boiled again in tea or a soup of spices. Tea eggs are also known as marble eggs because the cracks in the shell create dark lines with marble-like patterns on the boiled egg white. Tea eggs are often enjoyed as breakfast or a snack.
Eggs are a vital ingredient in the various Chinese cuisines with delicious recipes and preparations. Maybe China's most basic dish is stir fried tomatoes with scrambled eggs (番茄炒蛋). Egg drop soup (蛋花湯) is common all over China with whisked eggs dropped in a hot broth. Leek-egg dumplings are renowned among traditional dumpling fillings. Practically each cuisine and region in China has their own variations of steamed egg, omelette, stir fried or boiled egg dishes along with vegetables, meat, tofu or seafood ingredients.