Why do Japanese eat raw eggs?

May 03, 2024

Why do the Japanese eat raw eggs?

Most of us perhaps prefer to have our eggs cooked a certain way, like boiled, sunny side up, or even in the form of an omelet. Some of us also love to cook our eggs to different levels ranging from being overcooked, well-done, undercooked, or sometimes raw.

Japanese love to eat their eggs raw, which is uncommon in other countries. Eating raw eggs has become a daily habit of the Japanese, and they put raw eggs on hot rice, add some Japanese soy sauce (shoyu), and mix it.

Considered strange and dangerous, since the raw eggs can cause food poisoning, which is caused by the salmonella bacteria. In this feature, we introduce about a safe way to eat raw eggs in Japan.


Raw eggs have better nutrition

Eggs are known for containing protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B, DHA, omega 3, lutein, and solid iron. Based on research, cooking the egg yolks helps your body to absorb the protein more easily, but it also reduces the vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B by around 20-30% at the same time. Thus, raw egg yolk has better nutrition than cooked eggs, and this is why Japanese people love eating raw eggs.

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A high manufacturing standard and strict quality control

Although eggs are known to be healthier when eaten raw, you can still get infected by the salmonella bacteria. Although it is risky, the Japanese still eat raw eggs because of its high manufacturing standards and strict quality control.

Once the eggs are hatched, they are collected to be washed, selected, and packaged using sophisticated machines. Those machines equalize the position of the egg yolk, so it will not touch the shell. The eggs are cleaned from all types of dirt and bacteria, and later the machines will check whether there are cracks or blood points in the egg.

If there are eggs that do not meet these standards, they will not be sold, or sold with labeling that says they cannot be eaten raw.

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Why do the Japanese eat raw eggs like a culture?

Eating raw eggs is like a culture in Japan. Many Japanese say that raw eggs are good for your health. Some foreigners, who have stayed in Japan for a certain period also adopt this habit and they eat raw eggs while staying in Japan.

Some of the most famous raw egg dishes are:

  • Kamatama udon, which is a hot udon noodle served with raw eggs
  • Sukiyaki, raw egg is used to reduce the temperature of the meat and vegetables to prevent heat burns when eating them, by dipping the meat and vegetables into beaten raw eggs.
  • Yukke, is a fresh raw meat sashimi that is usually made of beef or horse meat. Yukke is seasoned with soy sauce, and topped with raw egg yolk and sliced vegetables.
  • Last but not least, is Tamago Kake Gohan (TKG, 卵かけご飯), a popular raw egg dish that is eaten in the morning. Tamago Kake Gohan is a raw egg dish that is placed on hot rice and seasoned with soy sauce.

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