March 29 - Eggs boiled and simmered in urine of virgin boys are a popular springtime snack in eastern China. Michaela Cabrera reports
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There's an unmistakeable scent from these hard-boiled eggs sold on the streets of Dongyang in eastern China.
They are soaked and boiled in urine. Yes -- urine -- of young boys, preferably those below the age of 10. Hence, the name "virgin boy eggs".
It's a popular springtime snack in Dongyang, and touted for its health benefits.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 51-YEAR-OLD EGG VENDOR GE YAOHUA, SAYING:
"If you eat this, you will not get heat stroke. These eggs cooked in urine are fragrant. They are good for your health. Our family has them for every meal. In Dongyang, every family likes eating them."
It takes a full day to prepare the snack, starting off with collecting urine from boys' toilets. Then the eggs are soaked and boiled in a pot of urine, after which the shells are cracked, and the eggs are simmered in the same urine for hours.
Those who snack on the eggs say they help decrease body heat and promote better blood circulation that can make one feel reinvigorated.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 59-YEAR-OLD DONGYANG RESIDENT, LU YANGZHEN, SAYING:
"Our ancestors were already doing this. By eating these eggs, we will not have any pain on our waist, legs and joints. Also, you will have more energy when you do work."
But not all folks in Dongyang are convinced.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 38-YEAR-OLD DONGYANG RESIDENT, WANG JUNXING, SAYING:
"I don't feel like eating these eggs. Other people like to eat it because we have this tradition in Dongyang that these eggs are nourishment for our health and that it would help prevent things like getting a cold. I don't believe in all this, so I do not eat it."
Medical experts are have mixed reviews about the health benefits, and some warn of sanitary issues in this unique delicacy.
But this hasn't stopped the local government from declaring the "virgin boy eggs" as an intangible cultural heritage.
Michaela Cabrera, Reuters.