So I was out getting some food tonight at this sichuan noodle place that I go to almost every day. I ordered my spicy handmade noodles to go and while I waited I was shooting the breeze with the owner of the place. We eventually started talking about the menu and bizarre foods in China. One of the things on the menu was 皮蛋. This translates directly to leather (or skin) egg, but in english they're called century eggs. I had heard of them and I asked about the process of making them, he explained it to me, but I didn't quite understand some of the words he was using. He said you soak it in ___ for a fair about of time and the ___ makes the egg very ____ and changes the color. It's good for your health. And ___ is something used in chemistry. I say, 'oh. that's interesting,' thinking that the conversation was done. But the owner told the waitress to bring out a century egg from the kitchen. She did. He cracked it and set it on the table in front of me. It looked exactly like the picture below. He laughed at the look on my face when he told me to eat it. We agreed he would eat half and I'd eat half. In the name of trying new things, I popped it in my mouth and slowly began chewing, all the while very conscientious of the intent stares directed at my expression. I think I kept my face pretty neutral, but the thing was nasty. With every mushy bite, I could smell/taste a chemical fume which I couldn't quite put my finger on as I breathed out of my nose (after further research I realized the fume was ammonia). Anyway, I washed it down with a bunch of water, took my noodles and bid them goodnight. The owner smiled at me and put another egg in my hand for the road and waved goodbye.
Click here for more info on century eggs. The picture looks exactly like the one I had. (It's a duck egg, by the way.)