One of Japan’s most beloved dishes is tamago kake gohan which is simply a bowl of rice topped with a raw egg and a splash of soy sauce. While the thought of consuming raw egg might be off-putting to some people, here a TKG is about as commonplace as a PB&J would be in America.
In fact raw egg is used as a garnish for many other dishes as well, which might make you wonder why everyone in Japan isn’t constantly kneeling over a high-tech toilet bowl. Actually the problem of bacteria has been licked quite some time ago, but now a new danger in raw egg consumption looms: it’s thought to cause hair loss.
■ Best before cooked
First, the reason raw eggs are widely eaten in Japan and salmonella is rarely inflicted is the stringent guidelines in egg production and handling. For example, foreigners in Japan may be delighted to know that that expiration date printed on eggs in the supermarket only means that’s when you can’t eat the eggs raw anymore. They should be good for quite some time afterwards if you’re planning to fry or boil them up.
So next time you see a heavily discounted pack with an expiration date of tomorrow, don’t hesitate to pick that bad-boy up and dine safely for some time to come. Also if you were ever curious and wanted to get into raw egg cuisine, Japan is a pretty safe place to do it.
…just as long as you’re Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson.
■ White Devil
Egg lovers around the world needn’t be alarmed however. The exact culprit in the great hair robbery is none other than the whites. You see, egg yolks have this stuff called biotin inside and biotin helps the body to produce the stuff that in turn produces nice, healthy hair. Egg whites, on the other hand, contain this crap called avidin which clings to biotin like a clingy lover and drags it down into its pit of useless despair. As a result, you hair is deprived of the nutrients it needs to thrive.
Luckily this is only true for raw eggs though. Once heat is applied it breaks down the adivin which loses its ability to hang on to biotin. Right, so while Japanese people enjoy their raw egg toppings and baldness, the rest of us can rest assured that our cooked eggs will do us no harm.
On a completely unrelated note, here is a photo of 32-year-old Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, meeting with Emperor Akihito (81) and Empress Michiko (80).