One of my favourite parts of making ramen is ajitsuke tamago – a soft-boiled egg marinated in soy sauce, mirin, and sake.

Marinating a boiled egg to impart flavour seems like a simple idea, but I'm not aware of any other dishes like it. Is this something that's been done in other culinary traditions?

3 Answers 3


Ajitsuke tamago are likely a culinary descendant of lu dan, Chinese soy sauce marinated eggs. Lu dan are also frequently added to soups, and can be hard or medium boiled.

As a very old Asian food, they exist in other Asian cuisines as well, including Korean and Filipino.

What's interesting is the lack of marinated, but not pickled, egg recipes from non-Asian cultures. Every country in Europe has some form of pickled eggs, but savory marinated eggs doesn't seem to be something that Europeans discovered before trade with China.


Perhaps not having really the same sense of gastronomic style or delicacy…

In the UK, pickled eggs used to be a staple; eat them on their own, with a beer or with takeaway fish & chips.

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Traditional ones in the UK were in brown or white vinegar with spices. Variants are many, with highly coloured extras added for variety.

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From Simply Recipes

  • Picked eggs were also popular bar snacks in Brasil in the past. The ones I've seen myself looked like they've been floating in vinegar since the 50's...
    – Luciano
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 16:49

Lots of East Asian culinary traditions have eggs simmered in flavourings, like tea eggs and iron eggs. And in Germany and subsequently the US there’s a tradition of pickling hard-cooked eggs in brine. And there are stews around the world including (and, I suppose, incidentally flavouring) hard-cooked eggs, of course. But I’m not aware of any other traditions of marinating soft-boiled eggs. (And I doubt any exist. Japan is precise about eggs, in a way virtually no other culture is.)

  • Tea eggs sound very interesting, I think I'll have to give them a try.
    – miken32
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 20:51

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