'Virgin Eggs' Boiled in Boys' Urine are a Chinese Springtime Treat

In Dongyang, China, spring is in the air... wait a minute, that's not spring, it's the unmistakable aroma of 'Virgin Eggs'. Sold steaming hot on Dongyang streetcorners, eggs boiled in the urine of young boys are said to be the perfect springtime tonic.
The city of Dongyang, located in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, has a long and proud history dating back to its founding in the year 195 AD. After nearly 2,000 years the city can boast a host of unique and distinctive cultural traditions. One of the most unique is the eating of tong zi dan (童子蛋), or “Boy Egg”... chicken eggs boiled in the urine of prepubescent boys.

Typically prepared by vendors at streetcorner kiosks in the spring, Virgin Eggs have become part of the city's cultural fabric; so much so that in 2008 Dongyang city authorities officially recognized the practice as part of their heritage.

Virgin Eggs cost 1.50 yuan (23 cents) each and they're reputed to impart energy in the spring and prevent heat stroke in the summer. Some of the locals just can't get enough of the golden globes.

“It is so yummy,” exclaimed a Ms Liu, who moved to Dongyang several years ago. “I can eat 10 within a day. I'd never tried it before. After my first taste of it, I've become addicted to it.”

As Dongyang today is a bustling city of nearly one million, the Virgin Egg business has had to adapt to modern collection and distribution realities. For instance, local schools set up buckets in the hallways where male students under the age of 10 are instructed to answer nature's call – but only if they feel healthy and not ill or feverish. The urine is then collected by Virgin Egg preparers.

The recipe (don't try this at home, kids) goes something like this: Soak the eggs in urine and heat to boiling over a hot stove. Remove the eggs and crack - but don't remove - the shells. Add the eggs back into the urine and simmer, adding more urine as required, for about a day. The process tints the egg whites a pale golden brown while the yolks take on a greenish hue. Not that this is gonna put you off eating them at this point.

Medical professionals are somewhat divided on the supposed benefits of Virgin Eggs. According to Dr. Jia Suqing, who practices at the Chinese Medicine Hospital in Jinhua, the urine of prepubescent boys was used in ancient times to enhance the efficacy of medication. Though consumption of urine, even indirectly, is rather unsanitary in his opinion, Jia recognizes the fact that “it has become a local custom. I don’t encourage or object to it.”

Planning a spring trip to Dongyang? As mentioned, the city is a cultural mecca offering visitors such delights as the 800-year-old Lu Residential Complex and Hengdian World Studios, the Hollywood of China.

It's also good to know that should one feel a bit peckish while moseying down the city's streets, there's a streetcorner kiosk close at hand where you can scarf down a marinated egg or two. Those who've tried them, rate them “Number One.” (via YeinJee's Asian Journal and Ministry of Tofu)

Apr 30, 2011
by Anonymous

t***** this

only in china you get to see these disgusting treats.. same as dog, rat and other delicacies. so yummy really.. I've been here for a month and I'm even scared of chinese coca-cola, who knows if they are adding a little chinese twist on it. ahh america I miss you SO MUCH!!!!!!

May 2, 2011
by Anonymous


So when will urine steamed rice make its debut?

Is this the real reason why Chinese families favor boys and the historical populations grew so fast?

With pasteurization and homogenization technologies, Shenyang businessmen can really ramp up distribution channels to the domestic market. Adolescent boy urine, coming soon to a market near you.

Additional filtration through a young male makes the water cleaner! This inspiration from the ancients can solve China's water pollution problems.

This could disrupt the traditional family structure and make fathers feel inadequate when their youngest child becomes the largest bread winner for the family.

Based on Chinese cultural obsession of finding wives and girlfriends that look prepubescent, shouldn't eggs with young girl urine have a competitive advantage? Clearly a disruptive business model. Mao would not approve of the current gender discrimination.

Alas, water and heating cut into profit margins of street vendors. Bravo for their ingenious money saving ploy.

May 4, 2011
by Anonymous


Me Chinese
Me play joke...


Jun 18, 2012
by Anonymous

this is how the locusts live

this is how the locusts live in cina.

Jun 18, 2012
by Anonymous

local weirdness

Well, it's a lot easier for a boy to whizz into a bucket than it is for a girl!

...and this is another reason why it's important to read up on a place before you visit and just eat things there!