While we’re wandering the world without employment, we try to spend money thoughtfully. We also like to eat healthy, though that’s always supplemented by a large dose of local specialties. (Iced coffee in Vietnam with more sugar than I usually eat in a week? Yes, please, I’ll have that every day!) In most of SE Asia, the food was pretty good, health-wise, but the protein was usually limited and sometimes the small meals left us a little hungry. Without a kitchen, our snacks were limited to salty fried carbohydrates or roasted nuts.
When we were feeling especially protein deprived, tea kettle hard-boiled eggs were our go-to snack. Sometimes, frankly, we also just didn’t want to go through the trouble of wandering down to a restaurant and spending the time, energy, and money ordering and waiting for food. It’s not always glamorous out on the road.
Almost every hotel we saw had an electric kettle in the room, usually with a few tea bags or packets of instant coffee nearby. In Cambodia, we started picking up eggs from a local shop to cook later. The recipe is incredibly simple:
- Get eggs and kettle
- Carefully check eggs for any cracks. They will make a huge mess in the kettle if they break inside.
- Add eggs and water
- Boil water in kettle, wait about 15 minutes after the kettle clicks off
- Peel and Enjoy!
Other Americans may be surprised to see that eggs aren’t always refrigerated outside the US. My interest in this is not purely theoretical. Last time we returned from a trip outside the US, Adam wanted to start leaving our US eggs outside the fridge, thinking this was just another case of overprotective American food safety.
I found a long update here from NPR, but the jist of the story is there are two ways to deal with potential salmonella poisoning. The US goes with the high-tech and high-energy way, while most of the rest of the world uses the more traditional and low energy technique. In the US, we wash eggs right after they pop out, which removes a protective bacterial barrier from the eggshells. This reduces salmonella on the shells but treated eggs must be refrigerated. Outside the US, eggs aren’t washed or refrigerated, so they retain their own protective coating. Both methods seem to work, though the shelf life of unrefrigerated eggs is only about 3 weeks while fridge eggs can last 7 weeks. One other important thing is that once eggs go into the fridge, they need to stay there, otherwise they’ll sweat and get moldy.
So, the moral of the story is, tea kettle eggs are an easy, delicious and healthy snack, and please just be consistent in your egg refrigeration.