Heat wave-inspired stunt fails to cook up much business
Fried egg on sidewalk
Credit: photo by Lori Greig via Getty Images

We’re in the midst of the dog days of summer, that special time of year when it feels hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Perhaps driven crazy by a recent heatwave, one enterprising employee of a noodle shop in southwest China decided to test this facetious claim to embarrassing results.

With temperatures in Chongqing reaching a sweltering 37°c (just over 98°f), a cook identified only by his surname Liu hatched a publicity stunt based on a video he’d recently seen online. According to the South China Morning Post, Liu lined up a series of pans outside his restaurant and offered curious onlookers the chance to eat a made-to-order “sun-fried egg” for one Yuan (about 15 cents). Liu was so confident his plan would drum up business that he offered electronic payment options as well.

Unfortunately, his sun-frying claims ended up being mostly hot air. Despite the oppressive temperature, it took his eggs almost an hour to finish frying out in the sun. To add injury to insult, Liu eventually succumbed to heatstroke and had to be helped back inside to cool off for a while. Despite a sizable crowd of curious onlookers, Liu’s total haul from his time spent sweating over a solar-powered stove was a paltry five yuan.

Even though one elderly observer suggested that Liu might’ve had better luck if he added oil or some kind of oil or fat to his pans, it’s likely his efforts were doomed from the start. It’s hard to find definitive evidence that could put this ovo-themed urban legend to rest, but the Egg Safety Center suggests you’ll need at least 149°f of heat for an egg’s whites and yolks to coagulate. If you want our advice, the best way to fry an egg on a hot summer day is to use a real stove in an air conditioned kitchen.