It’s called Boy Egg, and in the township of Dongyang, in the Zhejiang Province of China, it’s the taste of spring.
(By the way, if you’re about to eat, you may want to wait and read the rest of this later.)
As the days begin to warm and winter recedes in Dongyang, certain street vendors head out to the local elementary schools, to collect yesterday’s buckets and replace them with empty ones. The vendors have an arrangement with the teachers in the schools, who instruct the boy students not to use the school facilities for peeing during the spring months, but instead to go outside and pee in the buckets. (Boys running a fever are told not to pee in the buckets, because it wouldn’t be sanitary.)
The buckets of boy pee are poured by the vendors into large pots and filled with raw eggs, which are allowed to soak for a couple of hours before slowly being brought to a boil. Once cooked, the eggs are peeled and put back into the pee to simmer. Fresh pee is added whenever necessary, and the eggs are pee-simmered all day long.
Boy eggs are supposed to keep you from feeling sleepy and to ward off heat stroke, but to the people who eat them, the… delightful flavor… is enough to keep them coming back for more. Boy egg lovers use words like, “addicted”, and “yummy” to describe them. Others use words like “kills me”, “stinks”, and “throwing up”.
Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine say that the eggs are useful for treating yin deficiency, decreases of internal body heat, promotion of blood circulation and the removal of blood stasis. Medical doctors point out that three of those aren’t even actual things, and that you’re eating pee. Pee, they helpfully point out, is one of the ways your body gets rid of things that shouldn’t be in it. Eating it again kind of defeats the purpose.
For many, eggs already fall into that category of “Who do you think was the first person to think of eating that?” under the common sensical misapprehension that ancient hominids would have avoid food items that fell out of another animal’s hindquarters. This fails of course to take into account that all of us came from someone’s hindquarters, so it can’t all be bad. But the first guy who thought to soak an egg in little boy pee all day before eating it should probably just have stayed home that day and popped some popcorn instead.
Everyone has their traditions. Many Christians here in the United States are preparing to be bodily lifted into the sky and flown through a space-gate into heaven this Saturday. While the ancient desert people who wrote the prophesy had no concept of “explosive decompression”, they also were equally silent on the idea of pee-soaked eggs.
I bet they’d have thought it was weird.