Salted egg the new star

Salted egg the new star
Dishes celebrating salted egg include Five & Dime’s salted egg custard lava cake (top left) and Morsels’ grilled octopus and squid ink risotto served with salted egg sauce (bottom right).

The humble local favourite finds fame as home-grown chefs create snacks, sauces and desserts using the yolks as a key ingredient Salted eggs are all the rage, popping up in myriad dishes and baked goods in cafes and restaurants here.

The brined duck egg yolk has transcended Chinese cuisine, where it is an accompaniment to porridge, tucked into mooncakes or used by zi char cooks to make a sauce for pork ribs, crabs, prawns or deep-fried fish skin.

However, a new generation of chefs and bakers are using the bright orange yolks in pastries, pastas, pizzas, cocktails and as a dip for finger food.

One of the first to realise the potential of salted eggs was Mr Chronos Chan, 40, co-owner of ice cream parlour Tom's Palette in Shaw Towers. He started selling salted egg ice cream in 2008.

Customers were wary of trying it until he decided to list it as a mystery flavour.

That got people trying - and liking - the ice cream.

Then came a period starting about two years ago, when chefs and bakers experimented with salted egg yolk creations and tested them on customers.

Now these dishes are best-selling fixtures on menus, proving to be a hit with diners.

Some of the dishes creating a stir are the charcoal waffles drizzled with salted egg yolk sauce at Fatcat Ice Cream Bar in Bedok North; and seafood pizza slathered with salted egg mayonnaise and fried chicken wings coated with salted egg sauce from Beer Market in River Valley Road.

Chefs who grew up eating salted egg dishes in zi char places are keen to translate the flavour into their creations.

At sharing plates restaurant Morsels in Mayo Street, the grilled octopus and squid ink risotto served with salted egg sauce is its most popular dish, with up to 150 portions sold each month.

Chef-owner Petrina Loh, 32, says: "The risotto has an umami flavour that brings out the saltiness of the sauce, which also goes well with the natural saltiness of the octopus."

Inspired by liu sha bao (steamed salted egg custard bun) in dim sum restaurants, the chef-owner of Fix cafe in Balestier, Mervyn Phan, 35, came up with a dip to accompany its bite-sized doughnuts. The cafe sells about 500 servings of that in a month.

Phan says: "It is interesting to take a nostalgic flavour and apply it in a new and creative way."

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