food

Japan has eggs that smell and taste like yuzu citrus fruit, and they’re amazing

8 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

In a lot of ways, eggs are a pretty wonderful food. Cheap and versatile, they’re just about the quickest and easiest route to a hot, filling meal that’s high in protein and low in calories.

But while eggs may taste great, they don’t quite measure up to the standards set by other breakfast staples in the aroma department, such as sizzling bacon or freshly sliced grapefruit. Unless, of course, you’ve got your hands on some of these special eggs from Kochi Prefecture that smell, and taste, like yuzu, one of Japan’s most delicious citrus fruits. And yes, the scent is all natural.

We recently picked up a pack of yuzu tama (short for “yuzu tamago” or “yuzu eggs”), and were anxious to see how they taste. We could have tossed one in a bowl of ramen or used it to top a pork cutlet bowl, but for our first time we wanted to experience the yuzu tama’s flavor with as little distraction as possible, so we settled on whipping up some "tamago-kake gohan."

Just about the simplest dish in all of Japanese cuisine, "tamago-kake gohan" literally means “rice with egg poured over it,” and that’s really all it is. Dish up a bowl of white rice, crack a raw egg over it, maybe add a little soy sauce, mix it all together, and congratulations, you’ve just made one of Japan’s favorite comfort foods.

Even though they’ve got a pleasing brown color, the yuzu tama don’t look any different from normal eggs, but they certainly smell different. Opening the package brought a tantalizing yuzu scent to our nose, even before we broke the shell.

Finding an egg with a good smell is like discovering a brand of shampoo that plays your favorite song as you wash your hair: Entirely unexpected and unmistakably cool.

Cracking one of the eggs open releases more of the yuzu aroma, enough that you might be wondering if there’re any added scents or perfumes. Rest easy, though, as the yuzu tama have no such chemical additives. Instead, their special feature is a result of the diet of the hens that lay them.

Kochi makes up the southwest corner of the island of Shikoku, and the prefecture is famous for its yuzu orchards. More flavorful than orange yet sweeter than grapefruit, yuzu gets used as a seasoning for all sorts of dishes, and can also be used to make delicious juice or liqueur. At Yamasaki Farms, though, the chicken feed contains yuzu peels (or “zests,” if you want to use the same term as recipes for orange and lemon cakes). The yuzu peel then imparts its aroma, as well as some of its flavor, to the eggs the birds produce.

With our olfactory senses and appetite thoroughly stimulated, we dished up a bowl of piping hot rice and crowned it with the yuzu tama.

Mixing: The most difficult step of making "tamago-kake gohan" (which is still incredibly simple).

Since she’s the biggest "tamago-kake gohan" fan in the office, we let our Japanese-language correspondent Meg have the honor of the first bite...and she was not disappointed. In her own words: “Oh, wow! The yolk has a mellow flavor, and the white has a great texture, not too soft and not too firm. And when you chew, there’s this invigorating wave of yuzu aroma coupled with a refreshing citrus taste that spreads through your mouth. I’ve never had an egg like this before."

For some of you, the idea of citrus-flavored eggs may have you imagining an invasive, acidic quality. Don’t worry though, there’s nothing like that going on here. The yuzu flavor isn’t as powerful as the scent, and if anything it helps to draw out more of the egg’s inherent rich sweetness.

It’s common to add a dash of soy sauce to "tamago-kake gohan," but we’d recommend passing on the condiment here, as it’s got its own smell that would sadly mask some of the yuzu’s. Instead, if you’re craving a little something extra, we recommend just a bit of salt.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go all the way to Kochi to purchase yuzu tama. In Tokyo, they’re available at Marugoto Kochi, a shop in the Ginza neighborhood that’s stocked with all sorts of goodies from the prefecture.

A pack of six goes for 494 yen, which we admit is a little expensive for eggs. Thinking of it from a different perspective, though, the price seems reasonable for “the only eggs in the world that smell and taste like yuzu.”

And by the way, if you’re not down with the idea of eating raw egg (even if the heat from the rice cooks it a little), the yuzu tama also fry up just fine, while still retaining all of their special scent and flavor.

Shop information Marugoto Kochi / まるごと高知 Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-3-13, Ripurekusu Tower 東京都中央区銀座1-3-13 リープレックス銀座タワー Open 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Website

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- We try Akane Farm’s Pinching Eggs with yolks so thick you can pick them up -- Japanese bathtub recipes to keep you warm this winter -- We try one meter of skewered grilled chicken: The Mega-Yakitori

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8 Comments
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On topic! Japanese eggs may appear to be tasty, but if consumers know the real story they may think otherwise.

Most eggs in Japan come from chickens raised on GMO corn imported from the US. Also, egg-laying chickens, are routinely slaughtered in mass, as soon as their production level drops off a little, even though they are still healthy. Their meat is then used for pet food and other purposes. Furthermore, an egg producing factory I visited was using cheaper foreign "trainee" workers, who had to do the same movement for hours a day, the only part of the process that wasn't mechanized. Very dehumanizing work.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I doubt egg practices are better anywhere else warispeace.

Healthy chickens are made into all sorts of food all the time- pet, human or otherwise. I don't quite get what your argument is here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Actually they are Tokiyo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-range_eggs

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am well aware of that Amidalism, but cage production is still the norm, is it not? Cage free eggs are available here too, at a premium.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Tokiyo

I doubt egg practices are better anywhere else warispeace. Healthy chickens are made into all sorts of food all the time- pet, human or otherwise. I don't quite get what your argument is here.

My point is that the "report" here is advertising how amazing the eggs are, yet it should as an apparent news story objectively tell us other aspects of egg production that many people are not aware of, even if you are. Also, just because global egg production has become normalized cruelty, it shouldn't sanction or justify the cruelty.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Most eggs in Japan come from chickens raised on GMO corn imported from the US

So what?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree warispeace.

The fact that the chickens are fed yuzu peel creating a citrus flavour & aroma egg doesn't necessarily produce a healthier egg or a happier chicken.

In reality, Yamasaki farm chickens are battery hens just like the majority of chickens in Japan (and elsewhere), and fed processed food, hormones, medicines etc in cramped unnatural conditions.

Now if the article focused on one of the excellent free range egg farms of Kochi, then I'd have much more to cackle about.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

... the chicken feed contains yuzu peels (or “zests,” if you want to use the same term as recipes for orange and lemon cakes).

'Zest' is not the same as 'peel' .... zest is the colored outside part of the peel, pith is the inner whitey part. The farmers are either zesting their yuzu peels for the enjoyment of their chickens, or they're not.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zest_%28ingredient%29

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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