Sunday, September 14, 2014

Malaysia 2014 : Salted Duck Egg Factory @ Kuala Kurau

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Kuala Kurau, Perak, Malaysia - September 2014
Our cycling adventures have taken us to many interesting places where we can see for ourselves how simple things are made (mostly food items though *snickers*), most of which are produced by small cottage industries. On a ride in Sekinchan we had seen how Yong Tau Foo were made, and also how rice were sorted and packed at a rice factory.
This time round we were cycling in north Perak, breezing through some fishing villages there. We took time to visit a cottage industry that produced the humble salted duck egg.

Stir-fried Bitter Gourd with Salted Duck Eggs.
For centuries, the salted duck eggs were just hard-boiled and eaten with white porridge given the plain broth some taste and flavour. The salted eggs were also used in making moon cakes.
Then some smart cookie came up with the idea of cooking crabs with mashed hard-boiled salted duck eggs. And from then the demand for these eggs sky-rocketed!
Now, even prawns and bitter-gourd are cooked with salted duck eggs; and I am just waiting for the next innovation to come up and see how it will turn up.

The eggs are sourced from nearby dark farms in the locality. Kuala Kurau being in the low-lying coastal area have lots of small streams and ponds that are suitable for rearing ducks.
Some of the duck eggs are crated and sold off fresh while others are used for making the salted duck eggs. Let's see how the salted ones are made.

The first thing that needs to be done is to sort out the eggs; this is done through this gadget. It may look pprimitive but it does the job. It's an electrically run machine, but part of the job is carried out manually.

Eggs are manually put into this conveyor roller at the left of the machine which rolls the eggs  to the top.

Another conveyor at the top pushes the eggs to move forward in a step-up/step-down motion.

The top conveyor has a weight gauge that weighs the eggs. If an egg is within the weight limits, a small arm pushes the egg off from the conveyor and it rolls down to the bottom. The heavier eggs are tilted off first, i.e. on the left side of the machine. The eggs are sorted by three weight category - Light, Medium and Heavy.
The worker removes the sorted eggs an put them into respective crates.

At another section of the factory, a couple of machines with huge bladed arms stir clay (from nearby sources) that has been place in huge stainless steel drums. Water is added as the stirring goes on until the clay reach a creamy consistency and heavy debris like roots, timber, etc. sinks down to the bottom.
Clay is scooped from the drum of the first machine is transferred to the second machine for further a further cleaning process.

A close look into the first drum shows that the top clay is relatively free of debris and unwanted things. The mix above is still undergoing stirring and when completed will be transferred to the second machine.
After the clay has been well stirred, salt is added into the mixture. It is this salt that will penetrate the egg shell and make the duck egg salty. The salt also act as a germicide and kills any harmful bacteria and other organisms.

Before going further, I will have to show you this ash-coating machine. It is a long hollow tube that is slightly tilted and it rotates also. At one side is a conveyor belt, at the bottom of which is a hopper into which ash (consisting of burnt padi husk, joss ash) are put. The conveyor sends the ash up to the top where it is fed into the tube. Eggs are put into the top,  roll down to the bottom as the tube churns; in the process of rolling down and being churned the eggs are coated with ash.
The bottom section of the tube has slotted holes where excess ash drops down into a collecting tray and are reused.

Bottom-end view of the Ash Coating Machine. Here it is seen that there are actually two tubes with the ash feeding conveyor at the centre.
It also shows the the slotted lower section where excess ash falls out.

At the top end, a worker dips fresh duck eggs into a basin of salted mud mixture (the one from earlier on) to coat them with a thick layer of the mixture.

She then feeds the duck egg into the rotating tube.

A look into the inside of the tube.
The spinning action of the tube churns the ash and coats it onto the wet muddied eggs. Together with gravity, this churning action rolls the eggs and ash down to ensure that the eggs are properly coated with ash.

The eggs drop down from the ash-coating cylinder onto a collecting tray.

A close look at the eggs, coated with ash and ready for packing.

The eggs are not dried off (as it needs to retain the moisture to salt the egss) and are packed immediately in this packing section.
The eggs are wrapped in plastic, this together with the black ash slows down the de-hydration process of the salted mud for it to cure the eggs. The curing process takes two weeks and then the eggs are ready to be sold.

Pricing of the different grade of salted duck eggs.

125, Jalan Besar, Kuala Kurau, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: +605-7277296     Mobile: +602-5607222 (Ms. Tan)     Fax:+605-7278002
GPS: 5.020302,100.432009

View Joo Hong Chan Salted Duck Eggs, Kuala Kurau in a larger map

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Gallery - Street Art of Gopeng, Perak : July 2014 
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Rabbit Farm @ Ijok : August 2014
A visit to a rabbit farm saw us petting and hugging these lovable creatures - Bukit Badong, Ijok, Selangor.

Pai Ti Kong - Jade Emperor God Festival : February 2014
Throngs of people massed at the clan jetties for a vibrant festivity to
celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor God at George Town, Penang.

Yong Tau Foo Factory @ Bagan Sekinchan
Sekinchan, Selangor : May 2014
Want to see you Yong Tau Foo is made in a commercial way, visit this factory then!

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