Lasang Pinoy 3 – Marbleized Quail Eggs or Tea Eggs

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This post is for the Food Blogging Event: LASANG PINOY 3 – Pinoy Street Food.

What would be my favorite street food? Trick question. I was what you call the all-too-obedient child at home while the street kid-type once unleashed. When we were young I don’t recall our parents ever buy us any kind of food being sold in the streets with the exception of sorbetes or ‘dirty’ ice cream, balut, penoy & nilagang itlog ng pugo (boiled quail eggs), which I fancied most before grade school. I could devour a whole pack, which I remember contained about 5 to 6 pieces, during any bus or jeepney ride.

In school (recess period & after class), we would buy all kinds of stuff – cotton candy, scramble (crushed ice w/ sorta fruit juice & coloring), sa malamig (any cold drinks from fruit juice to gulaman at sago or gelatin and tapioca balls) , manggang hilaw w/ alamang (unripe mango w/ unsauteed shrimp paste), kalikot (I suppose it’s coconut jam picked & eaten from a piece of bamboo stem), & ofcourse the ever popular fishballs. I remember spending my entire food allowance for these fried well-seasoned balls of ground fish, day after day, at least for a year maybe. When we got a little bit older, our folks would buy taho (made from bean curd w/ sago & arnibal, a sweet syrup) and puto (rice cake) so I don’t really think they hate ‘street food’ per se. I guess it’s more of the responsibility that goes w/ being parents.

During HS & university days when food allowance was better, my preferred street food became barbeque – pork, hotdogs & the radical inihaw na isaw ng manok or chicken intestine barbeque). In college, we had series of overnight jobs working on projects as a team. These would be like all work, work, work, and rest would be during meals or snacks. There were instances when we will just set off to our favorite barbeque stall for merienda. Buy ice-cold coke poured into plastics from the nearest store & eat right there while queuing for our isaw. I remember a particular street in San Andres Bukid, Manila near the railways & the South Expressway. Never been there for a long time. Hope somebody would tell me if that particular place of barbeque stalls is still there. (Isaw photo courtesy of Karen.)

I don’t have a special fish ball recipe & the temperature here is dropping that barbequing isaw would be quite a stunt. (My pork barbeque recipe is just around the corner.) So I decided to experiment on the [i]nilagang itlog ng pugo[/i] and make them tea eggs or marbleized eggs. Once cooked w/ tea these eggs will be patterned with veins or streaks resembling marble. Kinda reminds me of calacatta vagli & spider gold. Again, I got some tips from our Ate Vi (V for Vivian, whom I mentioned in my earlier post) – our Chinese interpreter from northern Urumzi who lived w/ us for about 3 months during the infamous SARS period for health measures as we all self-quarantined. She cooked this dish once for us. These eggs are also quite popular here in the streets of Beijing!

Normally, any type of black tea can be used but Ate Vi says I can utilize what we have right now – Guanyinwang oolong tea, a gift from a friend, which I was a bit reluctant to use since she says it’s expensive. It has the qualities of both black and green teas & is said that drinking it is among the best ways to fight skin ageing.

about 18 quail eggs
4 chicken eggs
1/2 tsp black hua jiao or Szechuan pepper
2 star anise
1 packet of oolong tea (about 2 tbsp)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce (optional)

Boil the eggs in a saucepan w/ about half an inch of water above the eggs. Simmer over low fire for about 15 minutes. Remove the eggs & quickly rinse in cold water till eggs are cool enough to pat. Tap the eggs lightly all over w/ the back of a spoon to create cracks to the eggshell. Do not peel. Return the eggs to the water in the saucepan and add the other ingredients. Bring to boil, adding more water if necessary & simmer over low fire for 30 minutes or even longer. Turn off the heat & leave the eggs to soak in the tea water for at least 30 minutes. Peel the eggs & see the marble lines. If you think you cooked more than you can finish at a time, you may leave the eggs soaked in the tea inside the ref for few more days. The tea mixture is already a preservative.

As the month’s theme is so fascinating, I would like to show you a glimpse of Beijing’s street food culture.

We went for a walk in Donghuamen night market in Wangfujing, open from 4:30-10:30pm, which they say is Beijing’s most crowded, most bustling snack market. Initially, I thought of going to Xiaochijie or Snack Street, also in the same area, but Donghuamen is more interesting. There’s a signage that says the place offers more than 60 specialty snacks famous all over the country.

I had been busy taking pictures of what took my attention while my son kept on pulling my jacket telling me he wanted hotdogs. Of course it wasn’t hotdog that he really wants but anything on skewers. But which one should we buy? I couldn’t take off my eyes on exotica especially the seahorses, grasshoppers & cicadas on sticks.

So we agreed to have Urumzi beef barbeque, a specialty from the northern Xinjiang Province. We’ve tried it a few times before & it’s not like we’re here to try something new. I’m not very good at describing food but it’s delicious, grilled to tender, juicy, mouth-watering perfection, w/ a kind of spice that’s new to me. You have a choice of chicken, beef or mutton. Cean enjoyed a few bite but complained that it’s too spicy for him & asked to be taken to the nearest Mcdo for coke.

So here is what they offer on the streets. I have tried caramel-coated fruits on sticks on several occasions – kiwi, cherries, peaches, strawberies – crispy, nice, sweet. There are also noodle soups & you will have to choose the ingredients – vegetables, tofu & fish balls are on sticks. There are plenty of barbeque choices – aside from what I mentioned above, there are also lobster, breaded crab & prawn, corn, beef tripe, scorpions, frogs, day-old quails… honestly, I don’t really recognize a lot of other things. We should have asked Ate Vi to accompany us. By the way, everything are to be grilled/cooked on the spot, piping hot, which is just great for such a cold & windy autumn night.

A quick bite on a tasty lamb burger & we’re off to Mcdo.

Last October 12, I conducted a poll based on Kai’s question “if you were a Pinoy street food, what would you be?” 50% favored ‘dirty’ ice cream while the rest of the votes were divided among rest of the other poll options: manggang hilaw (13.6%), balut (13.6%), fish ball (9.1%), gulaman (9.1%) & barbeque (4.6%).

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked. – Bernard Meltzer

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

14 thoughts on “Lasang Pinoy 3 – Marbleized Quail Eggs or Tea Eggs

  1. Wow, something to give kwek-kwek hawkers a run for their money! Looking froward to seeing the photos and Beijing’s street offerings!
    Thanks for participating in LP3!

  2. Bago ‘to. never heard of marbelized pugo eggs before..pugo, oo. I love buying them from vendors in buses on my way to Manila from Baguio.

  3. *thud* that was the sound of my jaw dropping, iska. my goodness, foodie heaven! kakainggit naman ang kadamihan ng street food d’yan! are their fishballs anything like ours? and what do the seahorses taste like?

  4. the fishballs r similar to ours. but i still don’t hav the guts to try the seahorses & the other bugs hahaha but i did tried scorpions before on my 1st trip to beijing. it’s crispy like chippy but not like shrimp or lobster.

  5. Iska, thoses eggs look beautiful! Thanks for the recipe, now we’ll have to give it a try.
    lol! I have to say I had the same thought about those poor sea horses, before I started imagining what they would taste like

  6. hi iska! what a wonderful peek into your world. it looks so exotic. wawa naman yung sea horses though…
    i wish i had been able to taste some isaw. great pictures! (btw, i love the photo of your little one with his great big toothless sweet!)

  7. I myself couldn’t stop thinking about my childhood memories of aquaman’s seahorse. pano ko pa maiisip sya tikman? And thanks stel, cean’s smile really makes my day. Sabi nga ni Karen wag ko tanggalin ang pic nya sa sidebar.
    JMOM, w/ the tea eggs u may also use cinnamon stick & soy sauce or just teriyaki sauce instead of szechuan pepper & star anise. the one i did is beijing style.

  8. mike, maybe you were busy w/ all the sightseeing u didn’t hav time to check the street food. punta ka uli d2
    celiaK, i tried the scorpions years ago no choice pinatikim sa amin ng client hahaha

  9. hmmm..parang ang sarap lahat! pahinge! naaamoy ko na! e dito sa Astoria..iisang klase lang ng bbq makikita mo..the Greek’s souvlaki..hmm..pwd ko rin pla i-feature toh! osha..bak to bloggn..

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