Monday, April 29, 2013

Thousand-year-old eggs – 皮蛋 - pe`ih-daahn – in congees or as hors-d’oeuvres

Despite their name, the “thousand-year-old eggs” are not that old!
Thousand-year-old eggs (also called century eggs) are preserved duck eggs (皮蛋 - pe`ih-daahn in Cantonese).  You can easily find them at wet markets.  The century eggs are covered with mud and chips and left to ferment – not for a century – but up to 100 days. After that period the white has turned to opaque black and its texture is gelatin-like. The yolk has become black-greenish, is creamy and has a pungent alkaline taste.

The outside is gelatin-like  / inside is creamy and has a strong alkaline taste

The 2 eggs covered with yellow-orange chips are “pe`ih-daahn”.
The black egg is a salted duck egg (咸蛋) or haa`hm-daahn in Cantonese

How to eat thousand-year-old eggs?
Simply remove the mud and rinse the egg well. Then crack the shell, peel and slice the egg (like you would do for hard-boiled eggs). Thousand-year-old eggs are often added in congee to make the notable “thousand-year-old egg and pork rice congee” (pe`ih-daahn sau-yuhk juk1). 
Pe`ih-daahn are also served as cold hors d’oeuvres.
Pe`ih-daahn with pickled stem ginger
Thousand-year-old eggs served cold with thinly sliced bean curd
Slices of pickled stem ginger (sold in small plastic bags at wet markets)
 Stem ginger / Jí-gèung / 子姜 
I remember the first time I tried thousand-year-old eggs. Pe`ih-daahn are definitely an acquired taste!


  1. I really enjoy this kinf of egg. Unfortunately, not easy to find in France :(

    1. Hi Le Yin! Thanks for reading. A pity not so easy available. ;)