Local pregnant women enjoy a good yoke
The forward-thinking woman who eats goose eggs while pregnant will increase the intelligence
of her unborn child, or so goes the rumor sweeping Phnom Penh's pre-natal set. The
more eggs she eats, the smarter her child will be; though sometimes just one egg
is enough to do the trick.
Sun Channa with goose eggs she believes will make her baby smart.
Smaller chicken and duck eggs, incidentally, won't cut it. Proponents of the goose
egg diet claim those more mundane eggs simply don't have those essential brain-boosting
A growing number of pregnant Cambodian women now insist that their husbands or relatives
find at least one goose egg to boil for them in the belief that eating it will make
their fetus smart.
Im Maly, 25, duck-and-chicken-egg seller at Psar Thmey, said this belief in eating
goose egg is a recent development. "It just appeared a few years ago,"
she said. "Before that, people never ate goose eggs. They ate only duck or chicken
Maly said goose eggs are very expensive - up to $5 each - because few Cambodian farmers
"Most people who eat goose eggs are pregnant women," Maly said.
Sun Channa, 20, who lives in Sangkat Psar Dumkor, Khan Chamkarmorn, said she was
seven months into her pregnancy before she ate goose eggs. So far she has eaten three
- her mother bought two for her, and her sister-in-law bought one. Those eggs cost
only 14,000 riel ($3.50) each, because they were purchased directly from a farmer.
Her sister-in-law, Hong Sophorn, 24, said she regretted not eating goose eggs when
she was pregnant three years ago.
"It is very lucky for my sister that I found one goose egg for her," Sophorn
Channa said pregnant women in her village always eat goose eggs. She believes their
children are "much more clever" than the children of mothers who did not
eat goose eggs.
"I hope the daughter I am expecting will be as smart as my neighbor's children,"
said Channa, whose baby is due in two weeks.
Her assessment of goose egg? "It tastes like duck or chicken egg. But it looks
bigger than duck or chicken egg," Channa said.
Sok Sophea, 34, who lives in Sangkat Psar Kandal 1, Khan Daun Penh, is the mother
of two sons. She ate one egg for her eldest son who is now nine years old. She said
her one-year-old son was smart because of the two goose eggs she ate while he was
in the womb.
"Before, I didn't believe anyone who said that eating goose eggs would make
a child smart," Sophea said. "And now I believe them because my son is
just one year old, but he can understand what I say or what I tell him to do."
Sophea said the next time she is pregnant she plans to eat as many goose eggs as
she can find.
Chhe Sary, midwife and provider at the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia,
has a less credulous view of the powers of goose eggs. She said she has read many
health books but has never seen anything written specifically about goose eggs.
Her books explained that the yellow yoke of any egg is rich in vitamin A, which can
help to ensure that a baby is born with healthy skin and eyes.
"It is good for pregnant women to eat goose eggs because of the yellow yoke-and
it has a lot of yellow because it is a big egg," Sary said. "It is not
only the yellow of an egg that has vitamin A, but also other yellow foods such as
pumpkin, ripe mango, jackfruit and so on."
Putting faith exclusively in goose eggs to produce a smart baby "is just a superstition
passed from person to person," Sary said.
Her advice to pregnant women is to eat as much as they can of three food groups:
carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes; muscle-building foods such as beef, fish,
and shrimp; and disease-fighting foods such as egg, pumpkin, and green vegetables.