Century or Thousand Year Old Egg

Ingredient Name: Century Egg, Thousand Year Old Egg, Preserved Egg

Traditional Chinese Name: 皮蛋 (pídàn)

What is this?

  • An egg that dates back as early as the 1640’s in literature and discovered by the Chinese
  • The preserved egg of a duck, chicken or quail that is preserved in clay, ash, salt, lime that preserves the egg (the process takes a few weeks to a few months depending on the process)
  • The yolk becomes semi-solid and is gray to dark green in color and has a creamy texture and is said to have a “golden” taste (but is slightly bitter)
  • The egg white becomes a brown jelly like substance (and is almost flavorless)
  • The eggs have a strong hydrogen sulfide and ammonia smell
  • This traditional Chinese egg is served and prepared in various ways (appetizer, in soups, in congee, with tofu, rice and others methods) or used as a condiment

How do I prepare it?

  • Bought with the clay still in tact is common both in supermarkets and wet marts
  • Rinse the entire egg under water while peeling away both the outer layer and shell
  • Use a sharp knife to cut into pieces

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will sell them in packs
  • Wet marts will also sell them individually

What is the cost

  • 1 pack of 4 from the supermarket costs around $30 HKD
  • The price varies depending on the producer

Any benefits?

  • It is an excellent way to preserve eggs (especially from spoiling)
  • Adds a unique flavor and texture to other dishes that is difficult to replicate with other ingredients

Any precautions?

  • In recent studies, it has been shown that century eggs have high amounts of lead oxide (by the way they are produced to speed the curing process)
  • This type of egg (especially raw) is not for everyone and is usually an acquired taste
  • Extremely high in cholesterol so consume with caution

Additional Information

  • You can store this ingredient in a tight sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 months (be sure to check expiry label if applicable)