Boys’ urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage

March 11, 2011Jing Gao26 Comments, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From Qianjiang Evening Post

Every early spring, a foul odor fills the air of Dongyang, Zhejiang Province. Dongyang people call it “the smell of spring.”

Yuck, it’s actually the smell of urine. And prepare yourself for this: Dongyang people boil eggs in boy’s urine and sell them at 1.50 yuan (23 cents) apiece. It sells like hot cakes.

egg01

A school boy urinates into a plastic bucket during class break.

The convention of eating such eggs, called tong zi dan (童子蛋) in Chinese, literally Boy Egg, is so deeply entrenched that the city of Dongyong listed it as local intangible cultural heritage in 2008.

Boy egg vendors go to local elementary schools to collect urine from prepubertal boys, preferrably under the age of 10, with buckets.

School boys are programmed to the collection mechanism. When nature calls, they go out of the classroom and urinate into a plastic bucket placed on the aisle. Teachers at most schools acquiesced to such behavior. They even remind kids from time to time to avoid peeing inside if they have got a fever. Kids heed what teachers say.

Ms. Li introduced her tip of boiling eggs in boys’urine: first, soak eggs in urine and heat them over the stove. After it boils, get all eggs out and crack their shells before putting them back. After a while, pour in new urine. Repeat it and simmer eggs for an entire day.

egg

Eggs soaked in urine

Many customers came to Ms.Li’s for the eggs. “It is so yummy. I can eat 10 within a day,” Ms Liu came to Dongyang with her husband several years ago. “I’d never tried it before. After my first taste of it, I’ve become addicted to it,” she said.

A net user who goes by the name “xingdande” (姓蛋的, literally Surnamed Egg) summed up Dongyang people’s love of boy eggs in his microblog: it tastes like spring.

egg02

Of course, not all people in Dongyang find the idea fascinating. Mr. Li, a native-born Dongyang resident, has never tried it in the past 30 years. “The smell kills me. I feel like throwing up at the thought of it. It stinks.”

In the eyes of many Dongyang people, eggs boiled in boys’urine is a must-have nourishment in spring. Vendors will always tell you, after eating it, you won’t feel sleepy during spring or get a heat stroke during summer.

egg03

Wu Yunhua (吴允华), a doctor practicing Chinese medicine, said that, the food has a time-honored history. When living standards were much poorer before, egg was the only nutritious food for peasants, who labored on farms. Urine crystalizes after standing for a while. The crystal is similar in terms of efficacy to a kind of Chinese medicine called renzhongbai. It can treat yin deficiency, decrease internal body heat, promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis. However, she stressed that not everyone is suitable for consuming it. It depends on the individual body nature.

However, Huang Jian (黄坚), director of Department of Nephrology at Central Hospital in the city of Jinhua, said that urine is waste expelled from human body and basically contains no substance conducive to human health. Therefore, he discourages people from eating those eggs.

Jia Suqing (贾素庆), a doctor at Chinese Medicine Hospital in the city of Jinhua, said that in ancient times, prepubertal boys’ urine was often used as an ingredient to enhance efficacy of medication. But from modern-day point of view, it is rather unsanitary. “However, it has become a local custom. I don’t encourage or object to it,” he said.

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26 comments to “Boys’ urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage”

  1. npfinnegan | March 11, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    If you thought chicken embryo eggs were gross, check out urine eggs! http://bit.ly/eaFlDN
    This comment was originally posted onTwitter

  2. theChinaRave | March 11, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    wow, this is much worse than smelly tofu… I don't understand how people can think to put something so foul in their mouths…

  3. yinbin | March 11, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Disgusting. How can this vile superstitious tradition be allowed to survive? I always find traditional Chinese medicine to be iffy. But this is just vile and disgusting.

  4. Rcdsnap | March 12, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    yuuuuuuuuuuuuucckkkk. I mean seriously what the fuck is up with that?? I know piss is sterile, but still………gross

  5. [...] fully appreciate the delicacy of our cuisine,” according to Chef Lu Ming in an article from the Qianjiang Evening Post. However not everyone is a big fan of these ‘boy eggs’. Mr. Li who was quoted in the article [...]

  6. Jonathan Růžek | March 14, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    This coming from a place called Dongyang…

  7. [...] example, in an article about eating eggs boiled in urine, the Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor says, “Urine crystallizes after standing for a while. [...]

  8. [...] truly unique dish courtesy of the city of Dongyang in China’s Zhejiang Province.Article from: Ministry of TofuA specialty of Dongyang, Zhejiang Province, China: eggs soaked in urine.Boy’s-urine-soaked eggs [...]

  9. Saint | March 17, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Anthony Bourdain should check this out.

  10. Anonymous | March 18, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    I reckon Andrew Zimmerman should check this out :)

  11. Ji pao khao | March 21, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Yummy ! Great treat for the guy in JAIL for molesting and raping. They should improve their brain function.

    These eggs should also be be further treated to be century eggs for their daily meal.

    Their drink should be these egg soups.

    Indian Ji

  12. [...] Pour les intéressés, voici le lien vers l’article original (anglais) des oeufs Chinois: Boys’ urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage. [...]

  13. [...] appreciate the delicacy of our cuisine,” according to Chef Lu Ming in an article from the Qianjiang Evening Post. However not everyone is a big fan of these “boy eggs”. Mr. Li who was quoted in the [...]

  14. Jari | March 23, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    LoL.Looks delicious,what about the smell=)…?Not 4 me.

  15. [...] “Boy’s urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage” (http://www.ministryoftofu.com) [...]

  16. [...] speaking of tweaking Aol’s article: Chinese urine-soaked eggs are probably more disgusting (even just as a thought) than any of the foods they have listed in [...]

  17. foods increase libido | November 16, 2011 | Permalink Reply

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  18. [...] LOL… Reminded me of this Boys’ urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage | Ministry of … [...]

  19. [...] 2) Boys’ urine-soaked eggs listed as local specialty, intangible cultural heritage [...]

  20. Ravi Shastry | April 10, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    It’s about the local culture and the people who follow enjoy it and they are not forcing anyone else to do the same. What we think kosher here in states may not be kosher to them. Live and let live. World is so diverse and let it be!

  21. [...] on the Ministry of Tofu has me trying hard to be accepting of the idea! Here is an excerpt from this article. The convention of eating such eggs, called tong zi dan (童子蛋) in Chinese, literally Boy [...]

  22. K | April 23, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    These frikkin people are messed up!!

  23. [...] fully appreciate the delicacy of our cuisine,” according to Chef Lu Ming in an article from the Qianjiang Evening Post. However not everyone is a big fan of these ‘boy eggs’. Mr. Li who was quoted in the article [...]

  24. Cal | July 29, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    Um, why BOY’s urine?

  25. [...] fully appreciate the delicacy of our cuisine,” according to Chef Lu Ming in an article from the Qianjiang Evening Post. However not everyone is a big fan of these ‘boy eggs’. Mr. Li who was quoted in the article [...]

  26. Lynx | August 13, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    this ppl been doing such a dirty thing for sooooooo long!!!! so disgusting this ppl…OMG….Wake up u ppl…..wake up plz……!!!!!!

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