Tea eggs are a classic Chinese traditional snack that is very simple to make by breaking boiled eggs slightly before reboiling them again with tea and spices. Tea eggs are also known as marbled eggs as the cracks in the shell create dark lines resembling a marbled pattern, which is very exotic to Western people. Tea eggs are usually sold at street vendors, night markets, and convenience stores throughout Chinese communities around the world, and some are also served in Asian restaurants. Thus, it can be said to be a snack of dense Chinese nations.
Originating in Zhejiang Province, China, tea eggs are traditionally served with other Chinese dishes rather than a single dish of its own. Preserving eggs was the original purpose of adding tea, but now the concept has evolved into a delicacy with a number of delicious tea egg recipes that vary between regions. The eggs are infused with spices, refreshing tea leaves, and often traditional Chinese medicine recipes that contain Illicium verum, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and black tea leaves.
What is Tea Egg?
Who Invented Tea Eggs? – Tea Egg Origin
Tea eggs, which can be found in Chinese communities and Chinatowns around the world, are thought to have originated in Zhejiang Province, China. Although there is no clear record of when and where the idea of stewing eggs with tea leaves was born, there are records of tea eggs in related archaeology and books.
In a relic area of Sichuan province, intact tea eggs were found preserved among burial objects along with 16 other cultural relics.
Archaeologists were amazed to discover these ancient relics, which are more than 500 years old, and subsequent research confirmed that the eggs were buried as funerary objects together in barn jars, symbolising a bumper grain harvest.Before this discovery, calcified egg shells were found in Han Dynasty tombs, which means that the ancients used tea eggs as a way to preserve eggs.
The earliest written record of tea eggs can be traced back to 1792 – “Menu of Sui Garden” written by Qing Dynasty scholar Yuan Mei. In the book, he describes the tea egg recipe, which calls for 10 eggs to be cooked in a solution containing one or two salts (about 50 grams) along with coarse tea leaves, and the suggested cooking time is enough to burn two sticks of incense — About four hours.
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The Tea Egg, simmered in ancient whispers, is a treasure chest of flavors. As you peel its marbled shell, a fragrant secret is unveiled, each bite a journey through time, from ancient rituals to modern-day cravings.
Tea Classroom – Tea Egg
Tea leaves for boiled tea eggs
There is no fixed tea type used to make the Chinese civilian snack – tea eggs, but most commonly oolong tea and black tea are used. Tea eggs marinated in heavily roasted tea leaves have a darker colour, and the taste of tea leaves is easier to adhere to the eggs.
The Secret of Cooking Tea Eggs
Traditionally, tea eggs are boiled twice – the first time the eggs are boiled until fully cooked, and then boiled again in a savoury marinade for several hours. The reason behind the lengthy boiling period is that tea eggs are country snacks and need to be preserved without refrigeration.
A different way of cooking tea eggs is to tap the washed eggs until the shells slightly crack, and then arrange them in a pot with the cracked sides facing up.
The eggs are then boiled again with black tea, rock sugar, and a stewing bag containing herbs and spices to form a sauce that the eggs can soak in. These two methods of cooking tea eggs are slightly different, but in principle, Chinese tea eggs need to be boiled until fully cooked, including the yolk.
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Nutritional value of tea eggs
Some people say that the best friend for weight loss is tea eggs, because not only are they easy to buy, but they are also very simple to make. In addition to the nutritional benefits of eggs, tea eggs also have added nutritional value from cinnamon, bay leaf, soy, Illicium verum and black tea.
To put it simply, a tea egg is basically an egg marinated in tea leaves, so hardly any calories are added to the egg itself. In addition, the protein content of tea eggs also makes it beneficial for weight loss, as a high-protein diet is ideal for optimal fat loss and muscle maintenance.
Tea eggs are a snack not only delicious, but also easy to incorporate into your daily diet, contributing to weight loss results!
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Sun Moon Lake Grandma’s Tea Eggs – Taiwan Best Tea Egg
Grandma Tea Eggs is located in the yard of Xuanguang Temple, Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou. It is a famous delicacy that is a must eat when visiting Sun Moon Lake.
Grandma’s tea eggs are marinated with Sun Moon Lake’s famous black tea and shiitake mushrooms. The tea eggs made with special local tea are loved and welcomed by everyone, with 5,000 to 6,000 eggs sold daily.
Sheriff Tea Egg – Taiwan Best Tea Egg
Sheriff tea eggs come from Tainan, which are the most willful of tea eggs, marinated with Tainan’s time-honoured soy sauce “Dongcheng”. Each egg is knocked by hand to evenly crack the shells, and the right proportion of various Chinese medicinal ingredients are added to make each tea egg smell delicious.
Sheriff tea eggs are carefully selected from ten types of Chinese herbal medicines, and the eggs are evenly flavoured. Moreover, the egg yolk is moist and dense, not dry, subverting your imagination of tea eggs.
Ding Wang Hotpot Tea Egg – Taiwan Best Tea Egg
If you are a loyal customer of Ding Wang Hotpot, you must not miss the “Ding Wang Spicy Egg” jointly launched by Ding Wang Hotpot and Family Mart. High-quality domestic eggs are strictly selected and complete with classic Ding Wang spicy pot soup base.
The numbing flavour, dense egg yolk and elastic egg white can instantly warm the stomach and body in cold weather.
Kinmen Sorghum Tea Eggs – Taiwan Best Tea Egg
The most famous sorghum tea eggs in Kinmen are definitely Ye’s fermented eggs next to Wentai Pagoda in Jincheng. Kinmen is famous for producing sorghum wine, which is used to marinate tea eggs, letting off a slight aroma present in every mouthful! It is a must-eat street food for tourists in Kinmen.
Alishan Winter Melon Tea Eggs – Taiwan Best Tea Egg
Located in Taiping Old Street, Meishan, Alishan, “Winter Melon Girl Tea Eggs” is one of the stores that can rightfully claim to be a tourist destination, and to serve the Presidential Palace. “Winter Melon Girl Tea Eggs” are boiled for 4 days with alpine tea leaves and Chinese herbal medicines. In addition to tea eggs, century-old winter melon tea is also one of the signature features.
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In the gentle simmer of fragrant brew, the humble Tea Egg transforms, its shell infused with whispers of spices and leaves. A culinary alchemy, it’s a treasure found in every corner of tea-scented kitchens.
Delicious tea eggs need to be paired with delicious tea
There are delicious tea eggs all over Taiwan, even in the densest convenience stores. Tea brand – ABoxTik, carefully selects scenic spot tea throughout Taiwan. Welcome to ABoxTik’s official website!