Story of the “Son-in-Law Eggs”

Posted by vivian on 01st March 2013

Last weekend, we featured the “Son-In-Law Eggs” as our weekend special. They are fried hard-boiled eggs glazed with a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce and generously garnished with fried shallots, chili, and cilantro.

So, why is there a funny name for such a delicious dish? If you didn’t make it into Ayara Thai last weekend to hear the many stories of how the name came about, we wanted to share them for you here, as there are a few versions of the story behind the name.

The story I grew up believing was that this humble dish is prepared by Thai moms for their potential son-in-law. If he loves it, he’s a keeper. It was never explained to me as to what happens if he didn’t. I am guessing its probably because that wouldn’t happen, considering how amazingly delicious they are. Who can hate them?

A flip version of the story behind this dish’s name is that boiled eggs are the only dish a son-in-law could cook. One day, his mother-in-law came for a visit, and he had to prepare her a meal – so he boiled eggs, fried them and the end result was this dish. Of course, his mother-in-law loved it.

Another story behind the “Son-in-Law Eggs” that a good friend shared with me is similar to the story I grew up knowing, but with a twist. It goes like this – a mother-in-law made this dish for her son-in-laws as a cautionary warning for what would happen to his “eggs” (Thai’s slang for testicles) if he mistreated her daughter. His “eggs” would be boiled, deep-fried until golden brown all over, sliced in half, and then a hot sticky sauce would be poured on it. Not a pretty picture, is it?

We can all argue which story behind this dish is true as there are so many versions, but there is no denying that this dish is a great balance of the sweet, sour, and salty that is all-so-authentic Thai. This dish is normally cooked at home, and rarely found in restaurants in Thailand and especially not in the States. If you haven’t tried it, we invite you to give it a try next time we feature the “Son-in-Law Eggs” as our weekend special.

– Vanda