China is well known for counterfeits and knock-offs. In most major cities you will be constantly harassed to buy Rolex watches, Prada shoes and Chanel bags. It is so rampant I don’t even trust the names of stores anymore. Is that store, named the Disney Store with Mickey Mouse clothes in it, really legit? It’s getting harder and harder for me to tell.
So I was not too shocked when I heard about the latest counterfeit product: fake eggs. But I was surprised. Making eggs is cheap. All you need is a little bit of land and a few chickens and you got yourself a money maker. In fact you don’t even need to take care of them. Chickens roam the streets like a pack of wild dogs here picking through garbage piles and forcing cars to swerve out of their way. How would making fake eggs be beneficial to anyone?
I’m not the only one questioning it. It’s hard to get a straight answer from the internet on this one. Many people think it is a hoax. But at the same time there are pictures of egg manufacturing, including a list of ingredients, and even official news channels are calling it legit.
According to the recipes the fake eggs are made from gelatin and various chemicals. A producer can whip out thousands in a day and even selling them cheap they can pull in good money ($70-$100 a day which is about the average monthly income of someone living in Shanghai). So it sounds like it is a viable business. But is it real?
I asked around and the consensus on the street is yes..it is real. Turns out most people I asked not only knew about it, but had eaten fake eggs before! One friend even said she made a bouncy ball by boiling a fake egg and taking out the hardened chemical center.
I have never thought to question the validity of eggs here. In fact, eggs are one of the only foods I buy on a regular basis. We don’t cook at home normally, but I do like making egg salad sandwiches sometimes so I get them. Even at the fanciest supermarkets eggs are sold au natural. They are sold out of hay lined milk boxes and streaked with shit and feathers. How could that be faked?! Students told me stores mix in the fake ones with some real ones so while one real one might be shit stained the clean one next to it just might be a fake.
But I became a believer when I ate what I am 99% sure was a fake egg. We got hot pot and the fancy Chinese restaurant on our campus. Hot pot is a type of meal in which you get a boiling pot of broth and raw ingredients. You throw in the meat, veg and eggs and cook them for your desired time before fishing them out and eating them. Cracking an egg into the broth is common and when Ryan pulled the egg a few minutes later it looked just wrong. The yolk and white had blended and the whole thing took on an odd grey stringy look. Ryan ate some and said it was totally flavorless (another fake egg sign). We also examined the egg shell quite closely and agreed something wasn’t quite right with it.
So I don’t care what anyone says. I think fake eggs are real. (After all most of the people that say it is a hoax live in America or other western countries where they would never encounter a fake egg while all the Chinese sources say it is true.)
So I had to learn some tips for spotting a fake egg.
Shake it. Real eggs are entirely filled with liquid and if you shake them they will make no noise. A fake egg on the other hand is impossible to fill entirely up so it will make a little watery noise when you shake it.
Crack it. With a fake egg the yolk and white part are made of the same chemicals so they will often bleed into each when you drop it into the pan. Many times people don’t notice this because breaking the yolk is all common, but with fake eggs it is really hard not to break the yolk.
Check the yolk. I guess the bouncy ball test isn’t just for fun. If you boil an egg and peel it open, test out the yolk. Real yolks don’t bounce. Fake eggs do.
This hasn’t stopped me from eating eggs, I had egg salad for lunch today, but I do shake every egg I buy. You can never be too careful!
And for those of you who are curious, here are the directions to make fake eggs yourself. (But kids, please don’t try this at home)
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