(CNN) — “Would you like salted duck egg with that?” asked the cook. I was on a trip to Yangzhou in China’s Jiangsu province and had popped into a small eatery for a bite of breakfast, ordering congee and a side of pickled vegetables.
Before I could respond, the cook disappeared into the kitchen, then reemerged, holding a grayish-green egg balanced on a plate. “Sure,” I nodded.
Plain congee, after all, pairs best with sour or pungent condiments that pack a lot of punch. And in my experience, the sharp flavor of salted duck eggs — cured in brine to produce salty whites and rich, creamy yolks — could be even more stimulating than a cup of joe.
When the meal arrived, I sliced the egg open, ready to spoon out the fatty yolk. But as the two halves of the egg teetered on the plate, I instinctively did a double-take. Not one, but two oozy, bright-orange yolks rested in their egg-white cradles. Amazed, I waved the cook over to show him this rarity.
He chuckled, then explained that most of the salted duck eggs in their kitchen contained two yolks. They’d been brought over from a county situated within Yangzhou, called Gaoyou. There, something most places would consider a rare and random anomaly is in abundant supply.