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Is “Pidan” the Most Disgusting Food in the World? Chinese People Would Say No!

Apr. 6, 2015

“皮蛋(pídàn),” which is known as “preserved egg,” “century egg,” “hundred-year egg,” “thousand-year-old egg” and “millennium egg” in English, is a kind of special delicacy for the Chinese, but many foreigners think it tastes awful! Let’s see how some foreigners respond to their first taste of “皮蛋(pídàn)!”

The video is pretty funny but it obviously shows differences between the food culture in China and the West. In China, “皮蛋(pídàn),” also called “松花蛋(sōnghuādàn)” for its beautiful, tiny flower pattern like ice crystals, is popular among the Chinese as a pungent appetizer; the Chinese tend to enjoy its special flavor. It also commonly appears in “凉拌菜(liángbàncài) a cold vegetable dish with sauce,” which is a kind of Chinese salad.

But to most foreigners, “皮蛋(pídàn)” not only looks weird, but also has a pungent smell. It is not all that surprising that this kind of black, devil of an egg even ranks first on the list of The Most “Revolting” Food I’ve Had Is…, conducted by CNN iReport.

However, the CNN report started up a great century egg debate from people who love “皮蛋(pídàn).” They argue that “皮蛋(pídàn)” has long been known as a great invention of Chinese people since the cholesterol content of a fresh duck egg is decrease more than 20% when it is preserved as “皮蛋(pídàn).” What’s more, its broken down proteins and lipids are easier for the body to absorb.

It may be unbelievable to foreigners, but to many Chinese, “皮蛋(pídàn)” does taste refreshing and smells savory and smooth. They also create many traditional dishes with “皮蛋(pídàn)” as the main ingredient, among which are “皮蛋瘦肉粥(pídàn shòuròu zhōu) Minced pork porridge with preserved egg,” “皮蛋拌豆腐(pídàn bàn dòufu) Tofu tossed with preserved egg,” “皮蛋鱼片汤(pídàn yúpiàn tāng) Preserved egg and fish soup,” etc. You might find it interesting that “皮蛋瘦肉粥(pídàn shòuròu zhōu) Minced pork porridge with preserved egg” is one of the most popular items at KFC in China. So, perhaps the reason foreigners can’t seem to warm up to it is because they aren’t eating it in the right recipe.

Last, but not least, “皮蛋(pídàn)” is also used in dietary therapy. According to Chinese medicine, food can be classified into four types according to the four properties in Chinese medicine: cold, hot, warm and cool. It is believed that “皮蛋(pídàn)” is cool with a pungent smell, so it helps to drive away heat in the body, cure toothaches, and clear up acne.

Now that you know more about this interesting delicacy, do you think you’re ready to give one a try?


1. All of the following are ways the Chinese eat “皮蛋(pídàn)” except .
A. They boil them and eat them with milk.
B. They make them into pungent appetizers served with pickled ginger.
C. They cook them in porridge.

2. According to the four properties in Chinese medicine, what is the property of “皮蛋(pídàn)”?
A. Warm
B. Cool
C. Cold

3. “皮蛋(pídàn)” is made from ______ .
A. Duck eggs.
B. Chicken eggs.
C. Quail eggs.

See Answers

Chinese Culture

Chinese Popular Words (Fun Stuff) 

HSK Test

General Chinese (Beginner Level) 

General Chinese (Intermediate Level) 

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