My picture of the black "Alien Spawn" egg from our Chinese New Year feast elicited some "What the heck is that??" reactions. They are actually preserved duck eggs, called Thousand Year Old Eggs, or "Pi Dan." I was shocked myself to see them come out of the package:
"No Lead Added"??? This isn't a Chinese toy, is it?
When I looked up how the eggs are preserved on Wikipedia, I was relieved to discover that a) they are not preserved in horse urine, a myth we've all heard and secretly wondered about, and b) the practice of adding lead to speed the curing process is no longer being done. Wow, talk about the things you wouldn't think to worry about!
Instead, the eggs are covered in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice hulls for several weeks or months until the yolk turns green and the white turns a clear black jelly-like consistency. They smell like ammonia (hence, the horse urine myth - a MYTH!) but taste, trust me on this one, really good. Rich, creamy and salty.
Read more about them here, and pick some up at an Asian market. Slice them and drizzle with soy sauce, sesame oil and minced fresh ginger. Eat them up, yum!
Thousand Year Old Eggs pictured here with Cold Sliced Beef