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SUNNY SIDE UP

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

Associated Press
Short-order cook: A child in Jinan, part of China's Shandong province, grills raw shrimp and an egg.
  • Zachary M. Seward
By Zachary M. Seward

Co-founder and CEO of Quartz

CaliforniaPublished This article is more than 2 years old.

“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.”

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