Another great Chinese delicatessen has entered my home: the Century Egg.
Just have a little trip to Chinatown, enter the Loon Moon Supermarket (9 Gerrard Street, that place that has durians outside alongside other exotic fruits). I would have expected, I don’t know, one or two… but a whole raft?
Grab one. Go pay for it even. Run home, clutching on your precious eggs. Get in, close the blinds, and hard-boil an egg (or 5).
Give it a good beating with a spoon. Nothing kinky. Don’t overdo it either.
Yes, it’s black. No, it’s no rotten. It’s also called preserved egg, and it isn’t necessarily made by burying it underground (soaking the eggs in a brine of salt, calcium hydroxide, and sodium carbonate for 10 days followed by several weeks of aging while wrapped in plastic).
Through the process, the yolk becomes a dark green to grey colour, with a creamy consistency and an odor of sulphur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, translucent jelly with little flavor. The transforming agent in the century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH of the egg to around 9, 12, or more during the curing process. This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavorful compounds.