Skip to navigationSkip to content
Associated Press
Short-order cook: A child in Jinan, part of China’s Shandong province, grills raw shrimp and an egg.

It’s hot enough in China to fry an egg on the street

Zachary M. Seward
By Zachary M. Seward

Chief executive officer

“It’s hot enough to fry an egg” seems to be a universal expression of how damn hot it is. Most of the time, though, it’s not really that hot. An egg must be heated to 158 °F (70 °C) before it properly fries. But the Associated Press reports that this child in China’s Shandong province was able to cook the egg, at least to his own satisfaction, along with a few raw shrimp.

During sustained heat waves, the temperature can get much higher near the ground. And the kid (first spotted by China Real Time) was smart to cook over a metal manhole cover, which conducts heat much more effectively than pavement.

China’s worst heat wave on record—temperatures in Shanghai topped 100 °F (38 °C) on 14 days in July—continues to plague the eastern half of the country. We wrote previously about the creative ways that Chinese are keeping cool, and also using the heat: TV reporters showed pictures of pork cooking on a sidewalk.

If word catches on about this road roasting, Chinese officials could face the same problem as authorities in Death Valley, California, where so many people tried to fry eggs during a recent heat wave that a warning had to be issued: “The Death Valley [National Park] maintenance crew has been busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk, including egg cartons and shells strewn across the parking lot… Don’t crack eggs on the sidewalks.”

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.