APR 10, 2018 7:17 AM PDT

What are Century Eggs?

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

In Chinese and many other Asian cultures, pidan, or the century eggs are considered comfort food. 

They are prepared by preserving duck or sometimes chicken eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, tea leaf and/or rice hulls for up to months.

The resulted alkaline fermented eggs defy the conventional knowledge about what a delicacy should look, smell or have chemical-wise. First-timers are often surprised to see its amber-brown jelly-like egg-white and greenish grey egg yolk. Its rotten smell comes from hydrogen sulfide and ammonia generated by protein denaturation. What's more, it has lead oxide, an important component to keep the eye yolk soft and prevent the egg-white from over-fermentation.

Like many other dangerous delicacies in the world such as pufferfish from Japan and Casu Marzu of Italy, the century eggs are not for the faint-hearted.

Source: ACSReactions via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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