Apr 072011

photo of preserved eggs


Ingredient Name: Preserved Egg.  Also called Century Egg, Millennium Egg, or Thousand-Year-Old Egg.

Ingredient Name in Chinese: 皮蛋 (Pí dàn)


  • Preserved egg is an egg that has been preserved in an alkaline mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice hull from several weeks to several months depending on the processing method.
  • The egg used can be from a duck, chicken, or quail.
  • At the end of the preserving period, the Ph level of the egg can fall in the range of 9 – 12.  The resulting egg yolk becomes a dark grayish green color with a creamy consistency and a sulfur-like scent.  The egg white becomes a dark brown transparent jelly.
  • When cooked, the egg produces a nice nutty flavor.
  • Preserved egg is believed to originate nearly 600 years ago, in China from the Ming dynasty.

Preserved Egg Uses and Health Benefits:

  • From a Chinese medicine perspective, preserved egg is known to clear heat from the body.  
  • Preserved egg can be eaten as an hors d’oeuvre alone or with tofu and other condiments.  Other common uses of preserved egg is in soups and congee.  One famous porridge made with this egg is the Preserved Egg and Lean Pork congee that is often sold in dim sum restaurants.
  • See a list of soup recipes using preserved eggs.


  • Tap the egg against a table top or hard surface like you would with a hard boiled egg to crack the shell.
  • Peel off the egg shell and rinse quickly under cool water.
  • Cut the egg lengthwise 4 or 6 ways before eating or cooking.

Where to Buy:

  • Preserved eggs are often sold in Asian supermarkets.
  • Look for ones made by a reputable brand with labels showing no lead was used in its processing.  Some less diligent producers have been known to add poisonous lead to the clay mixture to increase the curing speed.

How do you use your Preserved Egg? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.

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Resources: Wikipedia

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