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Eat and Drink

What's the difference between the edible bird eggs?

It's time to get adventurous with eggs.

The chicken egg is everything. We eat it for breakfast, we eat it for dinner, we use the whites to froth up cocktails, we use them to make baked goods. But there's so much more in the world of edible bird eggs to explore, from quail to pheasant to emu to ostrich.

Dave Santos, chef at the West Village restaurant Louro, which has become known as an eatery that takes risks, said experimenting with other types of eggs was natural for him. He was someone who ate a lot of breakfast for dinner, and he realized he could get more variety out of that habit by eating other eggs.

"It came from my love for eggs," he said. "It became a fun thing to explore."

And explore, he has. Santos serves a scrambled emu egg on his dinner and brunch menu, and has experimented with pheasant, ostrich, turkey and duck eggs.

What's the difference between all the eggs? They all have yolks and whites, but each one tastes a little different and has a slightly different consistency. Santos says he's found a correlation between the bird and the bird's egg: they taste similar. Makes sense.

We asked Santos to guide us through the different types of edible eggs. We've ranked them, from smallest to biggest. (Important to note, there are many other kids of bird's eggs that are edible, but as Santos says, where are you going to get them?

If you like eggs (and of course you do), read on...

Quail eggs

SIZE: The quail egg is tiny, about the
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Dinah Sanders

SIZE: The quail egg is tiny, about the size of a couple of quarters.

TASTE: Delicate. "Quail eggs are light, the least rich of the eggs," said Santos. They are also very popular with NYC chefs.


D'Artagnan, web orders and in stores,

Gato (324 Lafayette St., 212-334-6400, has an artichoke heart with quail egg and sea urchin on the menu.

Fatty Crab (643 Hudson St., 212-352-3592, offers Quail Egg shooters.

Extra Fancy (302 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, 347-422-0939, does an "Ocean's Twelve" oyster special, with a dozen oysters each with one of the following toppings: caviar, bottarga, quail egg + chicharron, trout roe, peekytoe crab, and uni.

COST: 75 cents each on average.

Chicken eggs

SIZE: You know how big they are. TASTE:
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Rachel Andrew

SIZE: You know how big they are.

TASTE: Mild, more flavorful if free range and farm fresh. "We all know that one. Good chicken eggs taste different. Alfalfa chickens are much better, more rich," said Santos.



COST: 40-50 cents each for an organic, free-range egg.

Pheasant eggs

SIZE: The pheasant egg is just a tiny
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Forrest and Kim Starr

SIZE: The pheasant egg is just a tiny bit larger than a chicken egg.

TASTE: "The pheasant egg is a little bit, almost gamey, but still light as far as richness," said Santos.


The pheasant egg is not largely used in NYC kitchens. If you know of a place that's serving them, let us know in the comments or @amNewYork!

You can buy them at: D'Artagnan, web orders and in stores, or Whole Foods Markets, various locations,

COST: 75 cents - $1 each on average.

Duck eggs

SIZE: The duck egg is a just a
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ andr3wA

SIZE: The duck egg is a just a little bit larger than the pheasant egg. (Indeed, a duck is a little larger than a pheasant.)

TASTE: Robust. Duck eggs taste a lot like ducks themselves, with a game-like flavor.


Duck eggs are delicacies that many chef's have started to cook with some regularity.

Charlie Bird (5 King St., 212-235-7133, offers a dish on its menu that has earned rave reviews from critics across the city: duck egg spaghetti with uni, guanciale and lemon. TAO Uptown (42 E. 58th St., 212-888-2288, serves bacon and egg Bao buns with egg custard made from salted duck eggs. Harold Dieterle makes a slow-cooked duck egg appetizer with risotto-style pigeon peas, duck Merguez sausage, radish greens and cracklins at The Marrow (99 Bank St., 212-428-6000,

COST: $1 -1.50 each on average.

Turkey eggs

SIZE: The turkey egg is similar in size
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Julia Weatherbee

SIZE: The turkey egg is similar in size to the duck egg, but are generally a little big bigger. About the size of a small fist..

TASTE: "The turkey Is similar to duck. It's deeply flavored and has a rich yolk, but [has a] much lighter white. The white is more runny," said Santos.


Turkey eggs are very hard to find because turkey farmers incubate basically all the eggs that are laid. "Most of the farmers hold on to them to incubate for Thanksgiving," said Santos. "They literally raise turkeys all year for one day."

Santos said in the late 1700s and early 1800s, turkey eggs were preferred by pastry chefs because the yolks are larger and thicker, thus making better pastries and the whites are also thicker, making better meringues.

COST: Fluctuates

Emu egg

SIZE: The emu egg is about the size
Photo Credit: Louro

SIZE: The emu egg is about the size of an average person's hand and weighs about 2 pounds. It is very, very large.

TASTE: Very rich. "Emu is the richest tasting of all the edible bird eggs," said Santos. "The white is almost like glue, it's so thick. The yoke is actually a pale yellow but it's so thick. When you run your fork through a yoke and it starts to ooze out? Emu eggs aren’t like that. You break the yoke open and it just sits there. It's like silly putty."


Louro, 142 W 10th St., 212-206-0606,

Whole Foods Markets, various locations,

COST: $30 each, on average

Ostrich egg

SIZE: HUGE. The ostrich egg is the biggest
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Avi Flax

SIZE: HUGE. The ostrich egg is the biggest of the edible bird eggs and weighs approximately 3 pounds.

TASTE: Rich, but with a more mellow yoke than an emu egg. "The yolk runs like a chicken egg," said Santos.


This is an expensive egg and one that is also hard to come by. But you can get it on the brunch menu at the South African Restaurant Braai (329 W. 51st St., 212-315-3315, For $24, you can get an omelette made with an ostrich egg.

COST: $45 each, on average


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