I was shopping in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong looking for computer parts when I was suddenly struck with hunger pains so I went hunting for food. I decided to try one of the small restaurants down an alley way instead of something safe like CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) located in the mall. At first glance over the menu you could tell this place only sold rice sheets and congee. I happen to love congee so I looked in that area of the menu. The first thing that caught my eye was the infamous 1,000 yr old egg and as I scrolled further down my options I came across a congee that not only contained the egg but also blood jelly. I decided to be adventurous and ordered my congee fate. First to come to the table was an order of their “bread and butter” we typically see in the states. Except this was deep fried dough with sesame seeds which was quite delicious. Next came my congee. Congee is nothing more than rice porridge and then you can put just about whatever you want in it. At first glance this didn’t look to bad until I started to stir and the brown bloobs of blood jelly came floating to the top followed by my green sphere of 1,000 year old egg yolk and the gelatinized egg whites.
Although the looks left much to be desired I went forth on my journey and took a safe bite of congee with just the rice porridge in it. BLAND! With a new nerve about me I took one of the brown bloobs that resemble a small cow liver into my spoon and slurped it in. I chewed and swallowed as fast as possible only to discover the wonderful taste in my mouth. The texture was like tofu that you would find in a soup but the flavor was that of liver but with more of a pork taste to it.
Next came the egg, I took a small piece with a lot of congee for support and repeated my hurried chew and swallow technique. Once again I was surprised at the flavor. The egg’s texture and flavor was just like a hard boiled egg only with more of a muskyness to it. I continued to eat just about all of my bowl until I began thinking about what these things actually might be. Seeing how I had very little prior knowledge of either item I eventually grossed myself out and although I finished the bowl I felt uneasy until I got home and was able to discover that neither of these thing are that bad.
1,000 year old eggs (century eggs) in mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months. Once the preservation is complete the yolk become a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong smell of sulfur and the white become a gelatinized substance with little to no flavor.
Although I could not find an exact description of blood jelly I am told that it is merely pork blood that has been cooked and when it is cooked it comes into a gelatinous state. It has a mild flavor resembling pork and liver.
Going out of your element and finding its not that bad, one more reason to live to eat.
John T. Osorio