Basins and buckets of boys’ urine are collected from primary school toilets in Chinese city of Dongyang. It is the key ingredient in “virgin boy eggs,” a local tradition of soaking and cooking eggs in the urine of young boys, preferably below the age of 10. There is no good explanation for why it has to be boys’ urine, just that it has been so for centuries. Locals claim that the eggs have miraculous health properties.
A man walks into a primary school toilet where containers are placed to collect urine from boys.
Two buckets of urine collected from a primary school are seen inside a stall selling “virgin boy eggs.”
A vendor pours a bucket of boys’ urine into a pot of hard-boiled eggs at his stall. “If you eat this, you will not get heat stroke. These eggs cooked in urine are fragrant,” said Ge Yaohua, 51, who owns one of the more popular “virgin boy eggs” stalls. “They are good for your health. Our family has them for every meal. In Dongyang, every family likes eating them.”
A girl looks at a pot of regular hard-boiled eggs, next to a pot of hard-boiled eggs cooked in boys’ urine. It takes nearly an entire day to make these unique eggs, starting off by soaking and then boiling raw eggs in a pot of urine. After that, the shells of the hard-boiled eggs are cracked and they continue to simmer in urine for hours.
A vendor passes a bag of hard-boiled eggs cooked in boys’ urine to a customer holding her baby on a street in Dongyang. The eggs sell for 1.50 yuan a piece, or about .24 cents.
Many Dongyang residents, young and old, said they believed in the tradition passed on by their ancestors that the eggs decrease body heat, promote better blood circulation and just generally reinvigorate the body.
Chinese medical experts gave mixed reviews about the health benefits of the practice, with some warning about sanitary issues surrounding the use of urine to cook the eggs.