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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

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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.

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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

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  • 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
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:49
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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.)

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

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