10 Facts About Century Eggs You Must Know to Impress Your Relatives this CNY


Last Updated on 2023-01-24 , 11:19 am

Most Singaporeans and Malaysians know about century eggs, commonly known as皮蛋. Some people would vomit at the sight of it (okay, a little too exaggerated, but you get the idea), while some like it so much that they’ve listed it as a trending food.

So, what’s so special about this egg that just looks…different? Here’re ten facts so that you can impress your grandparents during this CNY!

It goes by many names
While locally we often just call it 皮蛋, many people overseas have different names for it, from 1000-year egg to preserved egg.

It’s just a preserved egg
Some people think that it’s duck egg—well, no, no! It can be chicken eggs as well. A century egg is basically just an egg that is preserved with rice hulls, quicklime, salt, ash and clay.

It’s not preserved for 100 years
Despite its fancy name, it’s not preserved for 100 years. It’s usually preserved for a few days to, maximum, a few months.

It was discovered by accident
Rumours have it that 600 years ago, a man found an egg that has been preserved in slaked lime pool during the construction of his house. He then added salt to improve the taste, liked it and ta-da: that’s the birth of the century egg.


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You don’t need to cook it to eat it
So essentially, you’re eating raw eggs that are preserved. Hmm…

Some people thought that it’s prepared by soaking eggs in horse urine
Of course, this is a myth. The misconception is due to the strong flavour of the eggs that some likened it to horse urine.

In Thai and Laos, century eggs are known as horse urine eggs
That’s not because they’re made with horse urine, but because it smells like one.

Some modern century eggs contain toxic compounds to speed up the process of preserving it
Some unethical manufacturers, in order to create the eggs faster (since the usual preservation period is a few weeks), added lead monoxide to produce the eggs. Therefore, get your century eggs from reputable stores!

It’s essentially a Chinese cuisine
So no, you won’t find it in a western stall.

The eggs turned colour because of chemical reactions
The egg white will turn brownish translucent while the egg yolk will turn dark green – all due to chemical reactions and not artificial colourings.

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Featured Image: YANGYANG FANG / Shutterstock.com

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