Pickled Egg vs. Century Egg
One day, my hubris got me. I arrogantly thought that since I was able to eat and even like the infamous century egg, I would be able to handle pickled egg. However, I was wrong. Pickled egg is worse than the century egg. And this is not because pickled egg is “dirtier” than century egg. No, it’s because pickle egg is extremely clean — so clean that it feels alien.
Now, before talking about the pickled egg, let’s talk about century egg. Century egg tastes decent, but it’s definitely an acquired taste — even in China where it hails from. Why? Take a look at what it actually looks like:
Looking at the image and you may have so many questions: why is the yolk black? Why does the white part becomes black? Why the transparency? And what does it smell like? It smells horrible all right. It smells like urine. In fact, in some countries, century egg is called “horse-urine” egg. So while it tastes decent, you must get over the smell and the weird and alien color scheme.
On the other hand, just by appearance alone, you can’t really separated a pickled egg from a normal hard-boiled egg. (Except for dyed pickled eggs. Sometimes, people dye pickle eggs with beet juice to make them pick.) But the look can be deceiving.
Unlike century egg which has an unclean smell, pickled egg smells so clean it’s unnatural. It reeks of vinegar. Once you get close enough to a pickle egg, your nose will be punched with vinegar vapour. The vinegar smell is so strong that erases all any smell that can be associated with egg. Not even the formidable sulfur is spared. It too must suffer the horror of being banished. Even though century egg smells like urine, it still retains eggy aromas.
And the texture is also off. Century egg still has a texture of hard-boiled egg, but pickled egg is simply hard. The white part of the pickled is so soaked in vinegar that it turns rubbery. The yellow part is harder than your average hard-boiled egg.
The worst part of pickled egg is taste. And you can probably guess that it tastes like vinegar. All of its eggy taste has been banished into the netherworld where Hades has been minding the souls of the departed. When someone puts century egg in your mouth, you can probably guess that it’s a transformed egg. However, if you have a pickled egg in your mouth, all you feel is vinegar. You won’t feel anything else and eventually you will become one with vinegar. Vinegar is you and you are vinegar. The world is made out of vinegar and the vinegar has become the world.
I suspect that pickled egg is vinegar’s attempt to infiltrate the deli section of the supermarket. In order to disguise itself, it congeals into pickled eggs. Another theory is that vinegar decides to infiltrate a farm, and so it congeals itself into chickens. But its disguise is imperfect since the eggs still taste so sour.