Why Duck Eggs From This Chinese County Often Have Two Yolks

When you want to infuse your food with a blast of umami like no other, you need to start adding salted duck eggs into your meal rotation. According to The Woks of Life, this specialty ingredient pops up constantly in Chinese cuisine and makes any bowl of congee complete. The egg white tastes similar to the boiled whites of a chicken egg, with a lighter texture. The yolk, filled with a salty, savory flavor, almost bears a resemblance to soft mashed roasted chestnuts. As a result, this ingredient can easily top off any meal you want to add an extra level of complexity to.

These eggs get their unique taste from a time-tested preparation process. According to CNN, the duck eggs soak in brine in order to cure and develop their unique flavor. The only thing that could make these salted duck eggs better would be finding a double yolk. This particular type of egg, as Nellie's Free Range reports, contains two yolks in one shell and only appears once in 1000 eggs, making them a food worth celebrating. Finding a salted duck egg with two yolks feels like finding buried treasure, but one Chinese county has found the perfect way to combine this umami-filled egg with double the yolk for a treat like no other.

A region perfect for double yolks

Getting a double-yolk egg seems rare, but an entire region in China has found a way to produce eggs with this delicious anomaly. According to CNN, the county of Gaoyou found within Yangzhou has a reputation for developing these eggs thanks to its natural environment. The region sports a wide variety of freshwater waterways and lakes, making it a perfect environment for ducks, while containing a ton of saltwater marshes where locals can extract salt from. 

Centuries ago, locals put these two natural resources together to start producing salted duck eggs for local consumption and export. The region's affiliation with this decadent food spread, and local farmers took their salted duck egg game to the next level. Farmers started breeding their ducks to produce double yolk eggs, an item that bears the name of the county and sells for several times the price of a regular salted duck egg (via CNN).

Farmers tracked down the source of this trait to several ducks and used them to breed the next waterfowl that would define the area. Nowadays, double yolks appear in 2 to 10% of the eggs produced in Gaoyou. According to Atlas Obscura, farmers hold the eggs up to a light source to spot the double yolk and separate the eggs for sale. Thanks to entrepreneurial duck breeders and a love for salted eggs, the area has defined itself thanks to this unique specialty.