There is a springtime treat in Dongyang, China, that is touted by some to be good for your health. It is said to relieve heat stroke and “every family likes eating them.” While you may be thinking of Good Humor ice-cream cones by this description, the Chinese delicacy is a bit more, shall we say, au naturale. They’re called Virgin Boy Eggs.
You may be warily wondering just what this is. It’s an egg — obviously — boiled in the urine of elementary-school aged boys (hence the “virgin boy” part). The urine for the boiling is collected from the toilets of nearby schools, preferably from boys under 10 years old, according to Reuters’ report.
Watch this account of the tradition:
It’s such a popular treat, Reuters reports, that the local government has listed it as “intangible cultural heritage.” Reuters has more from one of the virgin boy egg vendors on its preparation and health benefits:
“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.
“They are good for your health. Our family has them for every meal. In Dongyang, every family likes eating them.”
It takes nearly an entire day to make these unique eggs, starting off by soaking and then boiling raw eggs in a pot of urine. After that, the shells of the hard-boiled eggs are cracked and they continue to simmer in urine for hours.
Vendors have to keep pouring urine into the pot and controlling the fire to keep the eggs from being overheated and overcooked.
Ge said he has been making the snack, popular due to its fresh and salty taste, for more than 20 years. Each egg goes for 1.50 yuan ($0.24), a little more than twice the price of the regular eggs he also sells.
Many Dongyang residents, young and old, said they believed in the tradition passed on by their ancestors that the eggs decrease body heat, promote better blood circulation and just generally reinvigorate the body.
As you might expect, some health experts have warned about the sanitary issues that could be associated with this food.