Eggs occupy about the same place in Chinese cooking as in Western. They make either the main thing in a dish or go with other main dishes. As in the west, chicken's eggs are the commonest eggs to eat. Next come duck's eggs, then goose's eggs. Great care should be taken with duck eggs. They must always be thoroughly cooked and should never be eaten uncooked nor should they be used for lightly cooked dishes such as poached eggs, scrambled egg, pancakes, etc. Pigeon's eggs, with transparent whites when cooked, are a fine delicacy to the Chinese. With all the media attention on cholesterol, consumers often lose sight of the fact that eggs are a nutrient-rich, affordable contributor to a healthy diet. Not only do eggs contain the highest quality source of protein available but they also contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral humans need. Because eggs are nourishing and easily digested almost in any form, they have always been regarded as good for the young and the frail by the Chinese.
Chinese have boiled eggs, fried eggs, etc., but they do not usually mean breakfast nor are they usually made the same way as Western dishes of the same names. Boiled eggs are usually hard-boiled and usually dip-eaten with soy sauce at breakfast. As part of other dishes, they are hard-boiled so long that they become soft inside again. Fried eggs are usually sprinkled with soy sauce. Dropped eggs are dropped in soup instead of on toast, and eaten wet. Chinese have no shirred eggs but have stirred eggs, which is something between scrambled eggs and egg-omelet.
Eggs are preserved by salting or lime-treating, for which duck's eggs, rarely eaten in Western countries but are very much appreciated in China, are more commonly used. Lime-preserved eggs are the so-called 100-year-old eggs, which are best when about 100 days old. The lime has a petrifying effect, making the egg look like it has been buried for at least a century. The black outer shell is removed to expose an amber-colored white and dark golden yolk. The egg has a pungent cheese-like flavor. Chicken eggs are most often used, though duck and goose eggs can be substituted. I personally prefer the tastier duck egg version. Hundred-year eggs can be found in Chinese markets and will keep at room temperature (under 70ºF) for up to two weeks or can be refrigerated up to a month; usually eaten uncooked, for breakfast or as an appetizer. Soy sauce or minced ginger makes a good accompaniment. Also called century egg, thousand-year egg and Ming Dynasty egg.
There are some very interesting Chinese omelets. Try them. They make for such variety as you may not have met with before. The Chinese use garnishes a great deal in their food. Besides watercress and the attractive onion flowers, shredded omelet makes excellent garnishes. Here are some common egg recipes for you, Happy cooking!