cultural difference 38: Ueberraschungs-Ei

January 30, 2011

Possibly every child (and adult) here in Germany knows what an Ueberraschungs-Ei is. The literal translation is “surprise egg,” but it’s mostly known as “Kinder Surprise” in the rest of the world.

It’s a hollow chocolate egg with a yellow capsule inside, which contains a small toy.

Often, the toy requires assembly, and I had to assemble quite a few little toys for my niece and nephew, using the sometimes nearly incomprehensible instructions.

I bought two of the little eggs to show you how complicated assembly could be (oh, the sacrifices I make for this blog!), but instead, the two eggs held a little inflatable fish with no assembly required.

The surprise eggs are not just popular with kids. Collectors trade or pay astonishingly large amounts of money for some of the toys.

Kinder Surprise isn’t sold in the US, though, because the law forbids having inedible items in edible objects. Apparently, 25,000 of the eggs are confiscated by customs every year. Maybe someone there is collecting them too? 🙂



  1. When I read this to Jean she said it reminded her of the ‘New Orleans king cake’ they have at her office. (She is a commercial insurance underwriter and her territory includes Louisiana, think Mardi Gras.) They had their cake on Monday and for the second year in a row, Jean got the trinket in her piece of cake! I bet that ban on things ‘inside’ of food is an ‘import’ thing.

  2. Interesting! I hadn’t heard about the king cake. So, does that mean Jean has to buy the cake next year?

  3. Yes, Jean is supposed to buy the cake next year just like she was ‘supposed’ to buy it this year but forgot! I had never heard of it before either but one of her co-workers is from Louisiana and has brought several of her traditions to work.

    • Any excuse to have cake works for me 🙂

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