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Chinese Century Egg (Video)

Chinese Century Egg, called Pi Dan 皮蛋 or Song Hua Dan 松花蛋 in Chinese, is a very common food in Chinese daily eating. You may see this Chinese black egg and wonder how we eat them. In this post I show you how we make the century egg dish at home. Scroll down to watch the video. 

The Looks and Smells

The Century Egg, or the preserved egg, is made by preserving the egg in a mixture of clay, ash, salt and alkaline material.

Because the egg may still have some taste of alkaline, not everyone likes it. Since I went abroad, I realised that some of my foreign friends don’t like it, called it horrible or scary;)

Some people say it has the smell of sulphur and ammonia, but to be honest, I can’t smell them, maybe because I have got used to it? But Once you get used of the taste, you will enjoy it.

Depending on the processing time, the egg yolk may look yellow, dark green or brown. Personally, I like the yellow yolk most. No matter  what color it is, the center is normally soft.

Chinese black egg? The name is Chinese Century Egg.
Chinese Century Egg

During the process, some chemical reaction happens, the egg white turn to transparent, and may show the snow-flake or pine-branch patterns. (in fact dendrites of various alkaline salts, according to Wiki;).

I took this picture of century egg, can you see these "pine-branch" on the surface?

Chinese Century Egg
Chinese Century Egg

Popular during Dragon Boat Festival

During the traditional Chinese Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival),both century eggs and salty duck eggs are the popular gift for friends and relatives.

Gift Boxes of Century Egg and Salty Duck Egg

We can buy these eggs from local food market. Those grey colour ones are the century eggs (pi dan, 皮蛋). The red-brown colour ones are the salty duck eggs with the out layer wrapped by mud.

China Local Food Market Eggs

How We Eat Chinese Century Eggs

In the south of China, such as people living in Guangdong province, century eggs are cooked with congee and pork, which is actually a famous Guangdong dish, called pi dan shou rou zhou (皮蛋瘦肉粥). Unlike most Chinese congees which are either plain or bit sweet, the century egg congee tastes bit salty. It took me a while to accept it:)

Century eggs are usually made for cold dish, such as a salad dish with cucumbers, seasoned by vinegar, garlic and sesame oil.

Our Family Dish: Spicy Century Egg

For us Chinese century eggs are very normal daily food. We don’t eat it every day but some days may have it for breakfast or have it as a cold dish in lunch.

We normally serve these century eggs with light soy sauce and green chillies, those are very hot spicy.

Chinese Century Egg & Green Chilli
Chinese Century Egg & Green Chilli

The green chilli can be either fried and slightly seasoned with salt. Sometime, my father would use fire to get the chilli skin like the grilled ones, which gives the chilli a special flavour.

Chinese Green Chilli Fire
Chinese Century Egg & Green Chilli

Simply use chopsticks to open the egg, because the egg centre is very soft. Then add the light soy sauce and sesame oil, mixed with the spicy hot green chilli, a cold side dish is ready!  

Chinese Century Egg & Green Chilli Cold Dish
Chinese Century Egg & Green Chilli ColdDish

You can watch the video here to see how we make this simple Chinese century egg cold dish at home. You may subscribe to my Youtube channel to get the regular update, thanks:)

Hope you like this post about Chinese Century Egg, please help me to share with your friends, thanks:)

For more real Chinese food, you may check Chinese Daily Food or find out more in Chinese Festival Food.

(Posted: 28/06/15; Update: 25/01/17)

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