Well, I’ve eaten salted duck eggs and balut (duck embryos in the egg), so preserved duck eggs were next.
These are also called century eggs or 100 year old eggs. The ingredients list on the packet says ‘calcium ,salt, tea leaves and water’. The eggs are wrapped in a layer of clay with the tea leaves on the outside.
There are a lot of recipes on the internet for using these eggs, but I just wanted to eat them on their own.
If you decide to try these eggs, be warned, they have a strong smell of urine. The egg white becomes a translucent brown colour, and doesn’t have much flavour. The yolk is a deep greyish green, soft in the middle, and tastes like egg with maybe a hint of duck flavour. The yolk is very creamy, and left a quite delicious creamy aftertaste.
But it would take a while to get used to the smell, it’s not surprising that some people think they are preserved by soaking in horse urine.
Ever since I tried balut, I have intended trying salted duck eggs. So this week when I was pedalling by an Asian Grocery store here on the Sunshine Coast, I stopped, and fortunately they had a few in stock. They are mainly a Chinese dish apparently, but the eggs I bought were bright pink, which is from a dye they use in the Philippines to distinguish between salted and plain duck eggs. The eggs were already cooked, so it was just a case of removing the shells and eating.
As you can see from the photo, they look a bit different to ordinary cooked eggs. The egg white is a bit denser than normal, quite a pleasant texture, but very, very salty. The yolk has a quite a hard lump in the centre, but overall is creamier and heavier than a boiled yolk. It’s a bit salty, but not as bad as the white. It has just a hint of duck flavour, which I didn’t expect, but which I found delicious. I think overall these eggs are too salty to be eaten on their own like I did, but mixed with something that needs saltiness, maybe chopped up on a salad, they would be really good. I’ll have to do some research into recipes using these eggs.
A couple of years ago, after first hearing about balut, which is an almost fully developed duck embryo still in the shell, I couldn’t think of anything that sounded worse to eat. Well, that was then and this is now. After the Wildfoods festival, I think I can eat anything! So I’ve been searching for balut, without success, until yesterday I found them at an Asian food store here on the Sunshine Coast. Balut is a very popular street food in the Philipines apparently. Today was the day, an exciting new lunch, so a bit of research indicated I should boil the eggs for about half an hour. No problems there, even I can boil eggs. I let them cool a little after cooking, and carefully broke away a small section of shell so I could drink the ‘broth’ inside. There wasn’t much, but it tasted delicious. I can’t quite pick the flavour, maybe a cross between egg and duck (there’s a surprise!), quite strong, and a lovely aroma. Then it was time to carefully remove the shell. I have to admit, balut isn’t the nicest looking snack I’ve tried.
And breaking it up to eat it doesn’t make it look any better.
The yellow yolk tastes just like egg yolk, but maybe a bit stronger, and the embryo itself was a bit chewy with a sort of flavour and texture that might come from overcooked boiled duck (not that I’ve tried that). The egg white part was so hard and rubbery I didn’t even bother to try it. I actually quite enjoyed the flavour and would probably eat balut again, but I’m not going to rush out and buy more in the near future.