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malaysian mondays #05: an egg-selent time

September 28, 2009

Strangely enough, one of the highlights of my Malaysia trip was unplanned and involved the non-edible… well, the non-edible at the time anyway.

My uncle, who is a real estate agent, had happened upon a piece of land that was for sale in rural Selangor and was itching to see it. It was after lunch and just a couple of minutes away from where we were at the time, so we agreed to go with him. And doubly so when he mentioned that said piece of land was currently home to a chicken farm.

the layers

the layers

I was introduced to the tenants as “a student from Australia who wanted to take photographs for her studies”. Not strictly true, but it got my uncle access to the property for a look see, and it got me a whirlwind lesson in where our eggs came from – well, Malaysian eggs anyway.

the eggs that didn't make it through

the eggs that didn’t make it through

The chickens are housed in long tin sheds that go as far as the eye can see. The smaller chicks are housed in a separate shed, raised high off the ground to prevent predators from breaking through the wire mesh and inhaling them live. *shudder*

When asked how many chickens were on the property, the workers looked at each other and shook their heads. “We process ten thousand eggs a day” they said. “There are a lot of chickens.”

an ingenious egg sorting machine

an ingenious egg sorting machine

Eggs are collected from the laying trays and put through this ingenious little sorting machine. A man feeds them along a conveyor belt, where they roll into divided sections, sorted according to weight.

I am mesmerised by it and spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out how the machine works. It’s desperately in need of a coat of paint, but its whirring is strangely soothing, and the sight of the eggs rolling happily down each little chute is enough to keep me entertained for a decent while.

the final product

the final product

There are eggs everywhere. In stacks, in pellets, labelled according to size and weight. The workers are amused at my amazement and my incessant snapping, and I, in turn, alternate being fascinated and horrified at the thought that all of these eggs will be eaten in a day.

It makes sense, considering the number of people in Malaysia who eat eggs (and the fact that soft boiled eggs are practically the national breakfast), but I have never seen this many eggs in one place before, and am having flashing visions of what may happen if they all broke at one time.

the egg plant

the egg plant

I am also occasionally freaked out by the odd dog that sniffs at my legs whilst I take photos. So much so that I jumped at one point and almost landed on one of the dog’s tails. The workers may have laughed at me at this point in time.

10,000 eggs per day!

10,000 eggs per day!

But time was passing us by, and my sister (who had spent the entire time in the car, horrified by the smell of it all) was getting tetchy. So we waved goodbye to the workers, and to the chickens, and to the dogs, and to the eggs, and drove back home.

And the next morning I asked if we could possibly, maybe have soft boiled eggs for breakfast.


  • #1
    September 28th, 2009

    I am too interested in how they process the eggs on the machine! They probably did laugh at you whenever you jumped when the dogs sniffed you. I can’t tell you how many times the locals laughed at me when I was in Thailand!

  • #2
    September 28th, 2009

    Eggs!! Did they give you any samples?

  • #3
    September 29th, 2009

    mmm eggs. i reckon id be so paranoid walking around those stacks upon stacks of eggs for fear of knocking them down.. can you imagine the yolky goodness all over the floor..

Shez