Tea leaf eggs are a favourite traditional chinese street snack. Apparently, in Taiwan, tea leaf eggs are common in their convenience stores, and my taiwanese friend just loves them. It's commonly sold as street food, especially in pasar malams (makeshift markets) in Singapore too. The key ingredient here is the star anise, which, along with the other spices and the fragrant tea, perfumes your kitchen with tempting aromas.
Tea Leaf Eggs 茶叶蛋
4-8 eggs, however much you can fit in the saucepan/ can eat
2 black tea leaf bags, or 2 tbsp loose leaves (if you have chinese tea e.g. my favourite oolong, or pu-erh, or tie guan yin, or assam tea, it'd be even better!)
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sugar (unrefined cane sugar)
4 tbsp soy sauce (naturally brewed, I use tamari, which is wheat-free and more intense)
2 cups water
1. Make the best hard-boiled eggs i.e. 15 min.
2. Crack the eggshells with a spoon.
3. Return the eggs to the saucepan with all the ingredients added, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 2h. If you can, let it marinade overnight for better flavour and colour. (Or even longer. I like them more 2 days later. And even more 3 days later.)
4. Serve with a little of the broth/brew.
By cracking the eggshell, you get a beautiful marbled appearance, and the flavour and aroma of the spices seep into the cracks and infuse the egg. It's not just style ok, this egg has substance.