Thousand Year Old Egg

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Thousand-year-old egg is also known as pidan, century egg, and millennium egg, probably because the length of preserving process for this food, which can take up to 100 days. It is made by coating duck (sometimes chicken or quail) eggs in a clay-like plaster of red earth, garden lime, salt, wood ash, and tea for several weeks to several months.

The process will resulting a smooth and creamy texture, with a dark-green to grey yolk, and a dark-brown white part that looks like jelly with the color of black opal. While the flavor is rich, pungent and cheese-like. Thousand-year-old egg also has odor of sulphur and ammonia, which led people to believe that horse urine is involved in the preserving process (so not true!).

Because of the length of the process, people usually prefer buying this food instead of “cooking” by themselves. However, if you’d like to try, this is the thousand-year-old egg recipe:


12 Fresh duck eggs, make sure they don’t have any crack
2 cup Very strong black tea
1/3 cup Salt
2 cup Ashes of pine wood
2 cup Ashes of charcoal
2 cup Ashes from fireplace
1 cup Lime

2 tablespoons Vinegar
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Rice wine
1 tablespoon minced ginger root

Thousand-Year-Old Eggs or Century Eggs


  • Combine tea, salt, ashes and lime. Using about 1/2 cup per egg, thickly coat each egg completely with this clay-like mixture.
  • Line a large crock with garden soil and carefully lay coated eggs on top. Cover with more soil and place crock in a cool dark place. Preserve for 100 days.
  • After 100 days, remove coating by scraping eggs and rinse under running water to clean thoroughly. Crack lightly and remove shells.
  • To serve, slice it like regular egg and serve with the sauce, sweet pickled scallions or any sweet pickled vegetable.


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