Its springtime and a yearly tradition has begun in the eastern Chinese city of Dongyang, “virgin boy eggs”. The pungent aroma of these local delicacies permeate the air as local merchants began the long process of cooking them, in urine.
Not just any urine will do, it must be the urine of virgin boys. At the end of the school day buckets of urine are collected from the primary school toilets. It is the primary ingredient for marinating and cooking the “virgin boy eggs”.
The eggs have been a tradition for centuries and are said to promote health, decrease body heat, and promote better blood circulation.
“If you eat this, you will not get heat stroke. These eggs cooked in urine are fragrant,” said Ge Yaohua, 51, who owns one of the more popular “virgin boy eggs” stalls.
Its takes almost a full day to properly cook the urine soaked eggs. They are started by soaking for several hours in the collected urine and then they are boiled until hard. The shells of the hard-boiled eggs are then cracked and the eggs continue to simmer for hours. Vendors must continually pour urine into the pot and carefully control the fire to keep the eggs from overcooking.
Ge, a local street merchant has been making this popular snack for more than 20 years and sells each egg for approximately $0.24, more than twice what a regular eggs sells for.
“By eating these eggs, we will not have any pain in our waists, legs and joints. Also, you will have more energy when you work,” said Li Yangzhen, 59, who bought 20 eggs from Ge.
Local residents will also collected the urine of young boys from nearby schools and cook the delicacies at home.
Not all residents are a fan of this salty treat, some Chinese medical experts give warnigns about the sanitary issues involving the use of urine to cook eggs.
“We have this tradition in Dongyang that these eggs are good for our health and that it would help prevent things like getting a cold,” said Wang Junxing, 38. “I don’t believe in all this, so I do not eat them.”