A hundred years…

Century egg or a hundred-year egg, called pidan in Chinese, is actually preserved duck egg (though I’ve seen quail ones too). If you look at the ingredients listed, they include duck egg, salt water, tealeave [SIC} and sodium carbonate…

Century eggs

It is made by coating the egg in alkaline clay which hardens around the egg and cures it, preventing it from spoiling and resulting in the creation of a century egg.

I don’t know if there was any truth in what I heard a long time ago but people were saying at the time that they used horse urine to make century eggs and hence, at times, you might find a very strong ammonia smell or to put it bluntly, the smell of pee in the batch of century eggs that you bought.  I guess that must be the alkali used and in the case of these that I bought, they used sodium carbonate for that purpose.

The eggs are wrapped in the clay and coated with rice husks…

Rice husks

…so to eat them, those would have to be removed and the eggs must be washed clean like this…


Then, you will have to peel the eggs…


…removing the shell slowly so that you will not spoil the jelly-like egg white…which of course, is not white but a shade of black instead. They say that the best ones would be a shade of orangy or brownish black and are translucent which means that actually,  these aren’t too bad, don’t you reckon?


When I was growing up, my father was the only one in the house eating them. The rest of us would not touch it with a ten-foot pole. If I remember correctly, my father would pour soy sauce over them and eat. Then, when my missus joined the family, she went a step further and added ginger, thinly sliced into fine strips and putting those on top of the eggs before pouring soy sauce over all that…

With ginger & soy sauce

By then, I had already acquired the taste for century eggs and till today, I enjoy eating them especially with porridge…

With porridge

The soy sauce would go well with the gruel as well (instead of Bovril or Marmite).

My daughter loves century eggs and would often opt for porridge with them when eating at the stalls and shops outside. Thus, we would probably include them as one of the condiments, alongside or instead of salted eggs, on occasions when we have porridge at home.

What about you? You love ’em black eggs?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

39 thoughts on “A hundred years…”

  1. Always see this, but never dare to eat it!!! =[

    I did not dare to touch at all when I was small – must be the colour…but having tried, now I like! My daughter like it though…probably more than salted eggs.

  2. this reminded me of a joke, where an African guy was eating half boiled eggs in one kopitiam, then came an Ang Mo. He wanted the same, pointing to the African guy, but having problem relaying it to the Ah pek… ended the Ah Pek served him this Pidan… oh well, Pidan is goood… they do have that in Spinach soup and also the 3Kings steamed egg… yummeh… Once i won a bet of Rp50,000 cos told my colleagues (in indo) that the eggs are black in color and no one believed…

    They did not know? Gee!!!! Not really a fan of it used in cooking – would just eat like that with rice or porridge. Ya…I’ve heard of the joke before. Ummmm….Ang mo ones, not black kah? LOL!!! 😀

  3. oh, century eggs!! i like.. but i don’t eat it with soy sauce and ginger, i like it with pickled ginger..

    Ahhhhh!!!!! High class people, eat it at exclusive dim sum places – pitan bui with pickled ginger. Hehehehehehehehe!!!!

  4. my gf gave me a receipe recently putting pcs of century eggs on top of silken japanese firm tofu n garnished with japanese fish flakes spring onions and soya sauce, she said eat them cold but i steamed them for a few minutes for i like them warm. very nice too. today i am going to have ‘pitarng chuk’ for lunch!

    Here, we put “long kiam hu” on top of tofu with some ginger and steam… Nice!

  5. Another my husband favourite. I do it like yours, squeez some lime into it. Will add another sour taste. 🙂

    I thought that would be nice so I tried that with a slice. Didn’t quite like it so I did not bother with the rest. Guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

  6. I love century eggs so much that I don’t need any condiments to go with them. Just peel and eat it straight. That is love 🙂

    I don’t mind them like that too – this is a variation… Nice like this too! I do not eat the ginger though – not crazy about that, never mind fresh or pickled…no, thank you.

  7. Century egg, my favourite but hub doesn’t like so end up I seldom buy. Also heard that they use horse urine to make the century egg. Century eggs certainly makes a perfect match for porridge. You have great taste. Yum!!!…Yum!!!…

    Poor thing. I guess it’s a matter of “for better or for worse”, eh? Muahahahahahaha!!!!!!

  8. I love century eggs. I can eat it on its own. If you eat it after drinking beer for sure your breath will no longer have the smell of beer. It really works hehehhe

    Ohhhhh???? So all you beer-guzzlers out there, do take note!

  9. I love them now. So tasty right? Have u tried those from Hong Kong (with watery half boiled yolk) inside? Yumzzz……

    I’ve bought some where the yolk was not really hard, a bit runny…but I wasn’t too thrilled by them. More or less the same.

  10. I don’t particular like century eggs. But I don’t mind it either. I choose salted egg or it any day hehehhe.

    Song Hua – Pine flower – the snowflakes like thingy. I heard the century egg that has the flowery patterns resembling pine needles is the best

    Oh? Never heard nor seen that! I wonder if they’re available in Sibu. Sure would love to try. Salted eggs also…will depend on the quality. A lot not really nice these days, really disappointing.

      1. To me, same taste la.. colour lighter. Light brown in colour and look anemic to me. The yolk also look a bit weird n not as firm. Prefer the black colour for the aesthetic reason.

        They say the runny yolks are better? All the same to me, just eat!

    1. Actually on your box of century eggs said ‘Soon Hua Perserved Egg’. And I can see the soon hua aka pine needles patterns on your picture of 2 shell-less century eggs. See the pattern in the egg white, egg black in this case, like crack pattern… that is what they call soon hua, pine needles pattern.

      Here is a very clear shot of the pine needle patterns on a century egg. http://www.chinainfoonline.com/Chinese_Food/Preserved_Eggs.htm

      Oh? So these are the eggs you all are talking about. Did not notice any patterns or any difference. Got two more, will peel and see. The brand’s really good though. Much better than some others that I’ve bought before.

      1. Yes! Yes! I’ve checked the two – there are those snowflake-like pine needle patterns all right. It says on the website, the more there are, the better the quality of the eggs.

        Preserved eggs

  11. My Hb’s favorite! Me not really fancy it…but acceptable if its added into porridge. 😉

    I like, wouldn’t mind having it time and again…especially with porridge.

  12. I love century eggs. You mean we do not have to boil them? I’ve never had it at home, only outside so I’m not sure how to prepare this. All this while I tot I will have to boil them first 😀

    Nope, just peel and eat. Salted eggs, you will have to boil till cooked.

  13. I love them like hell and they certainly go well with porridge. Yeah la, I don’t eat so high class with ginger like SK!!!! LOL… Wakakakakaka
    I always wished that more chefs could create more dishes using these century eggs. Maybe you could invent new recipes like Century Egg Pies or Ice Cream or Cakes. What say you Sibu food Mayor???

    The soaking with horse urine myths are nonsense lah. The folks in China asked me where I heard those craps!

    It must be the ammonia smell. You know people’s mouths – cannot close one…they can say anything and how much we can believe, I’m not that sure. They say canned meat from China – got human meat inside. Large population…lots where that come from! How to believe such ridiculous stories? And even harder to believe that there are people who would go around spreading this kind of crap. Here, they use century eggs for frying vegetables and in other dishes as well but I’m not really a fan. As far as I am concerned, est with porridge.

  14. wow a black colored egg huh! thats interesting! i never seen any!
    i have tried a egg said to be a century egg but why is it not black haha and it wasn’t coated like that. Anyway this reminds me of the high school chemistry project we did we tried making salted eggs

    I thought your balut looks something like this…except that it has a chick inside? No, thank you.

  15. I love century eggs…..normally I will slice in pieces,then put some preserved ginger on top with black soya sauce,then keep in fridge for an hour, It definitely taste better.

    One hour? The soy sauce will not soak into the yolk? I don’t quite it like that – would pour…and sit down to eat.

  16. Ahh I love century eggs!! They are so good even on its own, or with porridge/steam eggs!! But then, cannot eat too much cause of the high cholesterol level >.<

    Hah!!! So scared, no need to eat lor… Everything in moderation, no problem… Look, I’m already 61 this year and I eat everything (that I like, of course) but not too much at any one time…and not too often either – those not-so-desirable stuff. I see people indulging in those giant burgers, really pengsan!!! Didn’t a woman in the US collapse on the spot eating one of those? And just look at the queues here – people not scared one meh?

  17. oh.. I’ve never eaten it this way before.. usually in steam or porridge or eat with the preserved ginger when full moon… must try this way too..

    I never steamed, would eat plain with porridge or this way.

  18. Yes, one of my favourites! Eat it with cold tofu or steamed tofu sometimes. But most of time, simply with porridge! CNN said it is the most revolting food!

    Chesh!!! What do they know? I’d have this anytime over other things like blue cheese for example.

  19. My favourite!!! Yummy!! If not said bad for health, i will eat it very often!! It not neccessary to go with porridge, i can eat like that with rice too. slurp!

    There is a place in HK very famous for the century egg, and it is very expensive, i forgot it is RM6 or RM8 per egg???? I help my sister in law carry two dozens back!

    The snowflake one or these ordinary ones? Th eones at the shops here are pretty good these days…which is not something I can say about the salted eggs that I can get around here. 😦

  20. I don’t like but I don’t mind having a bit in the porridge. Century egg porridge.

    My daughter’s favourite too!

  21. I enjoy *undress* the egg since I was a kid. 😀 love it with porridge too ❤

    You do? Hmmmm…quite a task for me, not so delicate…have to handle so gently so as not to spoil the jelly-like “white”.

  22. One of my favourite too !!!! Love to eat these at ‘lok-lok’. Love to eat them with porridge and steam egg too !

    Ya, heard of that horse urine. Dun know true or not. haha…. but still wallop coz they are so delicious.

    Ah yes! I’ve seen them at those lok lok places – they serve them with pickled ginger, I know.

  23. I would eat it with pickled ginger or cook porridge with it. However, the boys will not touch it with a ten foot pole n if I add into porridge, I’ll have to literally minced it .. ceh! Rugi!!

    Can’t blame them. I only learnt to eat these myself quite late in life. When young, it was a definite no. Ok with salted eggs though.

  24. wow, i’ve never seen it coated in egg husks before … i guess usually when i see it, it’s ready to be eaten already. and i loooooove century eggs. if you don’t stop me, i can continue gobbling them nonstop for a very long time, all on their own, without any accompaniments or condiments 😀

    Gosh!!! They say we should not eat so many eggs so you will have to control yourself. I like eating these but no matter what, I think it is best not too eat too much of any preserved stuff. Can’t be all that good for us.

  25. Imagine the egg white turned black over 100 years haha..if more than 100 years will be golden? Not my favorite with porridge prefer salted egg..:)

    More often than not, the salted eggs at the shops and supermarts here – not nice. Once I bought, not even edible – had the throw ALL away. Will just buy from the makan shops – RM1 each. At least, I know it’s good!

  26. I absolutely love this. And I ‘ve heard bout the horse urine thingy too…How true is that anyway? And there is also this saying that the century egg is good for gastritis patients. I never really read up about this though.

    As the old folks always say, people’s mouths you can’t close one – they can say anything. True or not, God knows. Gastric problems? Well, I certainly do not have those, so fat.

  27. Hi Arthur! Yes, I love Pai Dan.. cooked or served in any ways! At home, we will eat with pickled ginger or I’ll sometimes cook with salted egg and fresh eggs with spinach.

    Have you ever thought of making your own century eggs? You don’t have to tell me what will go into your version of the eggs!! 😛

    Muahahahahaha!!!!! Bet mine will be extra lemak…and maybe, extra sweet too – just like the source of the ammonia… 😀

  28. I only recently began to enjoy these… previously was rather afraid of their look and smell… hehehe

    I love these with pickled ginger and crushed peanuts! strange as it may sound, it really taste delicious.. this was concocted by a chef so I really begin to enjoy these..

    Oh? Crushed peanuts? Maybe I can try that sometime too. No more in the house – gotta get some more.

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