Taste in the Shell: All there is to know about Salted Duck Eggs
The South East Asian history of preserving eggs in salt stretches far back into the mists of time.
While the exact origin is unknown, they far predate their closest relative - century eggs - which originated in China during the Ming Dynasty period.
Many believe the earliest recorded mention of salted duck eggs was in the Qimin Yaoshu, an ancient Chinese agricultural text that dates back to the 5th century, 600 years earlier than the origination of century eggs.
While they originated in China, they’ve gone on to become a staple in many countries across Asia, from Singapore, to The Philippines. So, with that said, how exactly do you create a salted duck egg, and what dishes feature them heavily?
Preparing Salted Duck Eggs
Before modern technology and an increased demand for eggs on a global scale, salted duck eggs started their journey in the seafaring communities of Eastern asia.
Salted duck eggs were buried in the sand, where the salty sea water would penetrate the shell of the egg over time, then once the desired amount of salinity was achieved, the egg would be retrieved.
But with trade, and the gradual movement of people and information over time, the process quickly moved inland, where salt water or dried salt was used to replicate the conditions of the sea.
Early adopters would bury the eggs in forests over a period of time, and dig them up once the required flavour and texture had been achieved. But to do so, they had to be buried in clay, mud, or even termite mounds in some parts of the world, largely because normal earth didn’t adhere the saltwater to the eggs in the right way.
These old methods were sufficient to keep up with the demand of a small village centuries ago, but as time passed and demands grew, industrialised methods of enveloing duck eggs in salt water were required. Now even the salted yolk can be sold separately.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of creating your own, and trying to produce this unique flavour and texture our chef Mark Corbyn shows you how to make them on our Rassa Filipino course.