$8 for an egg? Farm finds takers for 'rare' pigeon eggs

SINGAPORE -Would you pay $8 for an egg, and one that is smaller than average?

One farm in Singapore is selling pigeon eggs at that jaw-dropping price.

Lian Wah Hang Farm is believed to be the only farm here selling such eggs. Mr William Ho, 49, who runs the farm, said he started selling pigeon eggs to retail customers late last year. He sells about 20 a week at his shop at Farmart Centre.

"It was due to demand from my regular customers," he told The Straits Times. "But the supply is limited, as one pigeon lays only two eggs a month."

The farm rears its own pigeons.

Although the price of the egg is listed as $8 on his website, Mr Ho is known to offer customers a discounted price of $5. Even then, it is more than 16 times the price of a regular chicken egg.

While it is a novelty in Singapore, pigeon eggs are seen as a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, he said.

Cantonese chefs use them in birds' nest, and they were also used in Tang imperial court dishes. But they also taste good, plain hard boiled, according to Mr Ho.

"The egg is translucent and looks like agar-agar when cooked. It is bouncy and has an exquisite taste," he said.

Despite the princely price, the pigeon eggs are too limited in supply to sustain his farm. For Mr Ho, quail's eggs are the main revenue churner for his game bird farm.

"I'm known as the quail man," he said with some pride.

The farm started by his father Ho Seng Choon in 1954 was a chicken farm, and it was the younger Ho's idea to switch to quails.

"We are a family farm, and the industry for chicken eggs is very competitive," he explained.

He is the largest supplier of quail's eggs in Singapore, accounting for up to 45 per cent of the market, he said.

He also sells guinea fowl eggs which cost $1 per egg, and chicken eggs, as well as exotic meats like crocodile, rabbit and wild boar.

Mr Ho's farm and its neighbours will have to make way for army training grounds soon. The game hen farm has about 21/2 years left before its lease runs out.

chuimin@sph.com.sg