May 8, 2009

Pidan or Century Eggs (Pui Long)

There's a new product in town and we need to support it as it is our own local product!! WE must try our best not to buy foreign imported goods in order to support our own industries.

These are mainland Chinese pidan.

Locally produced century eggs (from WEst Malaysia. Available in Ing Kong Drug Store in Miri.

Century eggs are lovely to most Chinese and a few non Chinese have acquired the taste in Malaysia just like many Chinese have learned to eat cheese and butter. Caviar for example is preserved sturgeon eggs and many people love it but they have to pay a high price for it.

Century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, and thousand-year-old egg, is a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulphur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with little flavour or taste. The transforming agent in the century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH of the egg from around 9 to 12 or more.[1] This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavourful compounds.

Some eggs have patterns near the surface of the egg white that are likened to pine branches.

Source : Wikipedia.

Most children get inducted into this special product when they see perhaps for the first time how lovely the black egg is onn special events, like wedding banquets or birthday parties. The first course platter of sliced barbecued pork, pickled baby leeks, sliced abalone, pickled Julienned carrots, pickled julienned daikon radish, seasoned julienned jellyfish, sliced pork, brawn and the quartered century eggs is served. This is called a lahng-poon in Cantonese, which simply means cold dish. Today many restaurants have gone beyond this traditional lahng poon. They have devised hot and cold combination dishes with great elaboration and include many non Chinese origin items even!!

A popular kopi tiam food or food stall (warong) in Malaysia consists of whole century eggs coated in breadcrums and flour and deepfried, producing a snack analogous to the ubiquitous Scotch egg in the United Kingdom. Most porridge served along the five foot way also have a few slices of pidan to add colouring and taste. Many of my Malay friends have learned to enjoy Teochiew porridge served in the higher end restaurants as a breakfast item. Alongside nasi lemak and fried noodles most hotel restuarants serve pidan and porridge for the buffet breakfast in the Asian corner.

I remember as children we were also frightened from eating them as we were told that they were prepared by soaking in horse uring. But the taste was so good that we soon forgot about the myth. I often wonder what parents tell their children about pidan today. A sense of humour about food actually goes a long way.

I like my pidan as part of my three- egg-herng chai soup (salted egg with fresh chicken egg and pidan). So stay tuned for this recipe with photos.

4 comments: said...

Nice sub-blog!!
Never knew Malaysia has its own line of century eggs!!
I used to be frightened of the mud and rice husks around the egg. Any crack ones I would not eat!! So scared of the urine. heheheh

Daniel Yiek said...

This is new news to me. Local century egg.

You may want to add Chinese characters into your blog using

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Daniel....I would really like to do that..but my Chinese writing is a little limited. It would be interesting to my readers how I get by.

I have a great Foochow dictionary!

Actually I have not tried the local century eggs. Will buy some off my cousin. They look more hygienic and the shell is very waxed. So no more broken shells (which used to horrify me).

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Kong
Thanks for visiting...we all have many different stories to tell about Pidan.

Sibu Tales : Liver in the Noodles and other stories

I grew up in Sibu where the butchers' corner was the most significant "part" of the old market. It was where many people wo...