Tan Tan's Thousand-Year Egg

Categories: On the Menu

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I recently tried congee with "thousand-year-old" egg and minced pork from Tan Tan (6816 Ranchester, 77036).

Congee is a porridge. It's made by cooking which rice in much more water than necessary for merely cooking rice. The grains break down and the starch acts as a thickening agent. When I was growing up, congee was always what Mama gave me to fight off illness. It's like the Asian chicken-noodle soup.

While minced pork is virtually self-explanatory, the thousand-year-old egg needs a bit more explanation.

To make these eggs, chicken, duck or quail eggs are preserved in a process involving clay and salt. The actual preserving process does not take more than a few months. During this time, the egg whites become a dark, translucent brown (similar to the amber in Jurassic Park but without the dinosaur DNA), and the yolk turns into a more opaque, greenish, glossy substance that looks like obsidian but feels like cheesecake. If it sounds odd, that's because it is odd. But like me in high school, the egg might look weird and take a while to get used to, but you'll love it once you become acquainted.

The whites that are now brown have a Jell-O-like texture with a salty-sweet flavor. The yolk's texture is still egg-like but creamier, with a stronger yolky flavor. After I got over its appearance and taste, I have found myself craving this stuff from time to time. The thousand-year-old eggs, chewy pork and crispy bits of fried onion make for a wonderful dance of flavors and textures in the mouth. If you're up for an epicurean adventure, you'll get some excitement from this dish.

Note: I welcome all suggestions of what to eat in the comments. The more bizarre the dish, the more interested I am.


Location Info

Tan Tan Restaurant

6816 Ranchester, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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