This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
from Katherine Pepers , rec.food.cooking
I just got a new Chinese cookbook - "The Chinese Gourmet" by William Mark.
It has a detailed description of "Hundred-Year-Old Eggs", though not an actual
recipe. I'll pass on what it says, in case it may be of use/interest.
"Rather than being dug up from an ancient tomb, as the name might suggest,
'100-year-old eggs', or as some call them '1000-year-eggs,' are actually
preserved for only 100 days at most. Fresh duck eggs are mixed with various
preservative compounds that permeate the shell and alter the consistency of
There are two main methods for preserving eggs in China: P'i tan are coated
with an alkaline mud and then covered in ash, rice husks, or tea leaves, be-
fore storing in large crocks for 100 days. The yolk becomes creamy and very
pungently flavored, the white turns an amber-gray color and coagulates into a
firm, gelatin-like consistency.
They are shelled and the egg sliced to serve as an hors d'oeuvre with slivers
of preserved ginger and a vinegar dip.
Hom tan are preserved in brine and saltpeter, or a mixture of finely ground
charcoal and brine. The yolk hardens to a firm, grainy texture and acquires
a pleasing salty taste. These must be cooked before they are ready to eat,
as a snack with a splash of sesame oil and vinegar and a sliver of ginger, or
to add, sliced, to congee. The yolks are an ingredient in the fillings of
many sweet pastries.
Hundred-year-old eggs are valued not only for their taste, but also for their
medicinal value. The preservation process raises their alkalinity, making
them a good antidote for ulcers and other conditions caused by hyper-acidity.
They are also considered a cure for hangovers."