I recently visited Taiwan and found it to be a remarkable food paradise. It’s often referred to as one of the best food destinations in the world, and most certainly is a snackers paradise. From a plethora of tantalizing street food to fancy restaurants ranked in the 50 best in the World – Taiwan has it all!
Taiwan’s food is an amalgamation of cuisine of the Min Nan, Teochew and Hokkien Chinese communities combined with Japanese cooking techniques. Despite its deep Asian roots, you can find everything from authentic Neopolitan style Pizza, to Joël Robuchon’s renowed French restaurant, to spicy Indian food, to classic American steak houses and everything in between. It’s a city where every palette can be satisfied, in every possible budget.
The Tawainese culinary philosophy is based on “eat often and eat well”. The classic three meals a day concept doesn’t quite exist in Taiwan, as there are multiple snacks one indulges in through out the day. While the list of marvellous snacks we gorged on is enormous, I am going to share with you one omnipresent healthy snack one just can’t miss on the island – Tawainese Tea Eggs. They can be found on every block in Taiwan. You’ll find it at hotel breakfast buffets’, at a street vendors outside every marjor metro station an most certainly at every 7 Eleven!
The tea egg is a typical Chinese savory food, in which a boiled egg is cracked slightly and then boiled again in tea, sauce and spices. It is also known as marble egg because cracks in the egg shell create darkened lines with marble-like patterns. My Taiwanese Tea Eggs recipe tries to replicate the original technique of steeping partially cracked boiled eggs for several hours in a mixture of tea, spices and condiments.
This recipe adds some drama and plenty of fragrance and flavour to the humble boiled egg. If your 2018 motto is stray from the ordinary and make every meal count, then this simple but unique recipe is certainly a keeper!
Taiwanese Tea Eggs
Recipe adapted from: Marbled tea eggs – two versions (茶叶蛋)
Time: Active: 25 minutes Inactive: 12 – 24 hours
Yield: 8 hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoon black tea leaves
2 teaspoons oolong tea leaves (See notes)
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 dried red chilli, split in half
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon peppercorns
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- If you do not have oolong tea leaves just make this recipe with total 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves
- Put room temperature eggs into a pot of cold water. There should be just enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Let the eggs simmer for 6 minutes and then turn off the heat.
- Drain the eggs and cool them down under running water. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, use the back of a spoon on gently crack the egg shells. You want the eggs to be in tact but the shells to have a nice cracked designed all over.
- Place the cracked eggs into a clean cooking pot. Add all the other ingredients and add just enough water to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil and the turn down the heat. Let everything simmer together for 10 minutes.
- Transfer everything to an airtight container and let the eggs steep in the mixture for 12-24 hours. You should store this in the fridge.
- Once ready to eat you can serve this at room temperature or warm everything up on low heat (do not let the liquid boil). Discard the liquid and all contents except the eggs. Peel and enjoy!