Century Eggs!

Growing up, I have always been exposed to a lot of culture on the Chinese side of the family.  My Mama, most especially, insisted on it.  I spent grade school and high school not just in a typical Chinese (Fil-Chinese) school, but a Buddhist one at that.  Once in awhile, we had to attend ceremonies at the Temple, and not without dropping to my knees and kissing the monk’s feet everytime.  I was signed up for weekend and summer lessons in our clan’s brotherhood haus( it’s like the western equivalent of a “club” but exclusive to family members of the same last name).  She made sure I socialized with either Chinese or Filipino Chinese kids, even if it meant putting up with brats most of the time.  She taught me how to use the chopsticks at age 8 and insisted on me using it at home. I was enrolled in dance lessons(?!) with Chinese choreographers even if it meant I was the only male in the class.  All of these I entered not without embarrasment.

If there was one consolation, it was the Chinese food invariably served either at the school dormitory, the temple, at a family or social gathering.  One of my early and pleasant discoveries was the Century Egg.  Somehow, I immediately liked its pungent, lingering after taste.  Mama used to buy a half dozen tray from the Chinese grocer downtown, peel off the clay and rice husks covering it, and then boil them.  I enjoy the expert way she would slice them using just a strand of kitchen string after they are cooked and chilled.

At home, we enjoy these delicate slices as side dish.  Nowadays, I like them served with pickled ginger root as hor d’ovres.

I never knew how they were made or what the story is behind these yummy delicacies until recently.  You may read more from here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg.

Every bite of this dark food would always remind me of those days growing up as a Chinese mestizo and how Mama took great pains never to let that fact slip my mind.

(photo courtesy of Weng Rosagaron!)


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