Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'E' is for Oology

Granted, oology is the study and or collection of eggs, but nowhere does it state that you can't eat them.

Recently one of our neighbours (who is one of the most generous, loveliest ladies I've met) started introducing us to a few Thai delicacies. This one reminds me of the first bottle of shampoo I purchased here, both in colour and in pleasant surprise.

This is khai yiao maa – (ไข่เยี่ยวม้า) literally ‘egg urine horse’ or commonly known as Century Egg. Usually duck eggs are chosen and undergo a lengthy preservation process borrowed from the Chinese, which doesn't involve any equine pee. However you do get a definite (short lived) whiff of ammonia when peeling them, so I imagine the intensity of their odour during the fermentation process would be enough to knock you off your feet. Quite pretty really!
The shells of Century eggs are often dyed pink, so they can be distinguished from your run of the mill variety, at the markets. Ours had their natural pale grey shell colour intact. Inside they're black, slightly rubbery and with a transparent (now reddish) white, and below and behold, they taste like egg. Nothing scary about them at all, especially when tossed into a spicy salad with pork broth dressing.
They don't come anywhere near the hột vịt lộn Stray ate in Saigon, as far as 'are you really going to eat that?' factor goes.
Ms P advised that due to laziness, and I suspect time and profit margin, that modern day Century eggs can be a health hazard if consumed too often. Wiki explains it better than I do.  Next, the salted egg (ไข่เค็ม) khai khem...salty and eggy, and would go well on crackers, with a beer.
Son-in-law eggs or khai luk koei (ไข่ลูกเขย) deep fried boiled eggs in a sweet/savoury sauce. Mothers are said to serve these up to their son-in-laws should they start to misbehave a reminder of what fate his family jewels may befall....or the less colourful explanation is that new husbands prepare this dish to impress their mother-in-laws. Hmmm, young, newly wed men cooking?
Slightly chewy and plastic like on the outside, from frying and basically just take up the flavour of the sauce they're served in.

Lastly, this one makes it into oology, because it contains eggs and it's really, really nice. Steamed pumpkin stuffed with Thai custard (egg, sugar and coconut cream) (sang kha yaa fak thaawng - สังขยาฟักทอง)
Pumpkin is in the catabolic food group, meaning it takes more calories to digest, than it contains...therefore after the pumpkin takes care of its own calories, it'll burn off the sugar and fat in the custard too. Good theory, or what?????

Yet to be eaten collected: roasted egg, or khai ping (ไข่ปิ้ง). Whole chicken eggs, often threaded on a skewer, gently cooked in their shells on a grill , over charcoal.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Lani said... Best Blogger Tips

That was egg-tastic! I remember a friend of mine saying that ever since she moved to Thailand she eats a fried egg all the time. If there is no fried egg, she's like, "Where's my fried egg? There needs to be a fried egg! Something is missing here." Etc.

And I think too many eggs, any kind really would be had for your health. I know someone who ate those skewered ones and got sick. Just probably too much of a good thing. (She was addicted - probably had it coming :P)

Wow. I could really go on and on about this one. My boss told me that I shouldn't eat too many fried eggs but one a day is okay. That's good because I love my eggs!!!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lani it was an eggciting post to write ;) I'm not big on fried eggs, too much oil and I'm too lazy to cook them for myself.

Eggs, boiled, are apparently meant to be a great source of protein for women over, I'm in'll have to wait a while!

On a serious note, I do appreciate one has to be careful eating street food. We've just had a few serious cases here in CM.

Talen said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, I love century eggs...didn't think I would but I do. I was never an egg eater but after reading this post and Lani's comment I realized I eat a good bit of eggs here in Thailand...odd.

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap the salted egg (ไข่เค็ม) khai khem is something I've got to try as I love salty foods, hence I like the salty fish skin better than the white meat inside.

The top photo of the century eggs, they'd make a lovely pair of earrings.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn I had the same earring thought, they almost look like agate.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Talen I probably eat more egg here too, this post not included. Many of the meals contain egg in some for or another.

Theodora said... Best Blogger Tips

Woot! I *love* century eggs. They're like cheese to me.

Have you tried balut (the Tagalog name)? It's, err, hold on to your tummy, egg with the chick slightly matured -- a few days to almost ready to be born -- hard boiled, normally served with vinegar.

And, once you get over the emotional response, surprisingly edible.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Theodora The century eggs are really nice and I bought some more salted eggs today...but way more salty than the last lot.

And NO...I am not trying balut, (which is the equivalent to the hột vịt lộn that Stray ate)thank you very much! It's not even the emotional aspect of the experience, it's more like the icky 'getting feathers stuck in between your teeth' feeling that puts me off ;)

Lani said... Best Blogger Tips

egg-citing. you are too funny dear. we must lunch soon.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Lunch soon sounds like a good idea, but I might give eggs a miss, this time around.

Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm sad to admit that I don't go for odd eggs. I've nibbled a taste of the old eggs but that's it (and nothing as bizarre looking as the one above).

Call me wimp (there is no better word for it).

I do eat a LOT of eggs in Thailand, usually cooked by me. Yeah. Double wimp...

But the pumpkin with egg custard - yum!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine A better word? how about 'chicken'? Get it ;)