Century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg or thousand-year-old egg, the Century Egg is a Chinese delicacy used in many traditional dishes. Fresh duck, chicken or quail eggs become Century Eggs after weeks, sometimes months of preservation in a mixture of clay, ash, lime, salt and rice. The process of “cooking” Century Eggs is believed to date back 600 years, when someone apparently found some old eggs preserved in a pool of slaked lime. Upon tasting them, he decided to produce some more, but this time with some added salt.
After the preservation is complete, the hull mixture and egg shell are removed to reveal the now dark-brown egg-white and a dark-green, creamy and pungent yolk. It’s the alkaline that raises the ph of the egg from 9 to 12 or more and gives it a strong smell of ammonia and sulfur.
Century Eggs are consumed either raw, or as ingredients in other Chinese foods. There are those who associate them with smelly cheese, pungent but really delicious. Sadly there are others (myself included) who just can’t get past the disgusting colors and smell.