By Mei Kuan
Ipoh Echo got an exclusive one-on-one with Tan Swee Lee, the third generation running the Joo Hong Chan Salted Egg Factory which was established in 1950 along Jalan Besar in Kuala Kurau to learn all about the craft.
“In the whole of Malaysia, there are approximately 20 salted egg factories. In Perak, there are about 10 salted egg factories in which four are located in Kuala Kurau. We are one of the longest established ones,” the Kuala Kurau-born Tan shared.
According to him, duck eggs are used instead of chicken eggs because the latter’s thin shell breaks easily. Presentation-wise, salted chicken eggs appear yellowish while salted duck eggs appear reddish. In terms of texture, the egg white will turn out watery in salted chicken eggs and more solid in salted duck eggs.
“The fresh eggs from the local duck farm come in different sizes. Thus the first step is to sort them into sizes of AA, A, B, C and D (biggest to smallest). Some raw duck eggs appear whitish while some appear greenish, depending on the duck breed. Many prefer the green ones as it has a better texture,” the amiable Tan explained.
“Sometimes, there will be a double yolk within a duck egg. We will check the freshness of the raw eggs and the presence of double-yolk using a special torchlight,” he pointed out.
Then each egg is fully wrapped in the clean mud from mountains already mixed with natural sea salt imported from Australia. Subsequently, it is coated with a layer of burnt paddy husk for extra protection from breakage. Finally, it will be stored for two weeks.
“When we started, everything was done by hand from the sizing to the coating. Now it is partially handmade with the aid of machines. Each day we can produce up to 30,000 eggs. Besides consuming it just like that, some like to make use of our salted eggs to make kaya (coconut jam), mooncake, pao (bun), sticky rice dumpling and salted egg yolk crab in seafood restaurants among others,” he highlighted.
“A quality salted egg must be able to preserve the freshness of the duck egg. Thus the mud and amount of salt used play an important role. If too much salt is used, it will be too salty to taste while the egg white and egg yolk will harden,” Tan concluded.
Salted eggs being the main product, century eggs are also made in-house. Made of 100% natural ingredients, his creations are exported all over the peninsular. Tan has regular customers of all ethnicities.
Joo Hong Chan Salted Egg Factory is located at No. 125, Jalan Besar, 34350 Kuala Kurau. It opens daily from 8am till 6pm (9am till 5pm on Sunday). For more information, call 05 727 7296.