One “exotic” delicacy prepared by the citizens of Dongyang in Zhejiang province can easily be one of China’s most unusual traditions. During springtime, residents of this bustling community of almost a million people enjoy eating eggs that are specially boiled and simmered for hours in the unlikeliest of broths: the urine of young, preferably virgin boys.
According to the New York Times, the delicacy referred to as “virgin boy eggs” has been sold since the ancient times and was officially listed as “intangible cultural heritage” in the city in 2008. Locals proclaim that the “golden” eggs taste salty but delicious.
Weeks before the annual event begins, residents collect fresh urine from elementary school boys under ten years old across the city daily. Eager vendors would reportedly carry empty bottles and search for young boys in public areas, hoping parents would be willing to let their son provide the much sought after main ingredient.
The recipe, which has been passed through generations, is a meticulous process. Eggs are first soaked in urine and then boiled. Once done, the eggs are removed, their shells cracked to allow some opening, and then returned to the pot to simmer for 24 more hours. Some cooks would add more urine and some herbs to add flavor.
The popular belief among many residents who partake in the custom is that the urine-soaked eggs help them improve blood circulation, boost energy and avoid heat stroke. At ¢25 per egg, getting all the alleged benefits makes the eggs an awesome buy, unless, of course, ingesting boys’ pee along with nutritious poultry produce does not sound too appetizing.
While locals have dubbed the delicacy as the “the taste of spring,” there are practitioners and believers of traditional Chinese medicine who doubt its claimed medicinal benefits. Science has long proved that there is no nutritional value to be found in urine.