Even in triple-digit heat, you cannot fry an egg on the sidewalk, The Washington Post learned yesterday.

Also, the roof of a gray Chevy Cavalier registered to the Russian Embassy is a particularly bad surface on which to attempt frying an egg, reporters determined.

The roof slopes, so no matter how hot it is, the egg rolls down the side of the window and then seeps into the space where that gray fuzzy stuff meets the chrome.

Then you're stuck with 11 eggs, a spatula, a bottle of Tabasco sauce and an approaching security guard with a puzzled expression.

You think it was hot yesterday? Well, if you fry eggs on the sidewalk long enough, you learn that everybody in Washington comes from some place hotter. Abdul Mir, 26, who sells cologne on the street, is from Pakistan. In Jacobabad, "the hottest place in Pakistan," he has never heard of people trying to fry an egg on the sidewalk. "Most of the people just die," he said, looking on as a small crowd hunched over an egg quickly congealing on top of a chrome standpipe in front of 1625 K St. NW.

Dolores Ramos, an employee of Deadline Press, ventured out onto the street, looking thoroughly perplexed. "I come from the Philippines, where it gets hotter than this," she said. "There, people just drink water. This is the first time I've seen anyone try to fry an egg on the sidewalk."

A Washington Times box was pretty good for congealing eggs on, it turns out. The red paint really picks up the heat, though not enough to actually cook it.

"People don't try to fry eggs on the sidewalk in the Caribbean," said Remie Abokocole, who comes from the island of Nevis. "They just go to the beach and swim."

Most chefs recommend a griddle heated to 325 degrees to fry an egg. Clearly, none of the surfaces employed yesterday reached that temperature.

For some passersby, the sight of runny egg white and semi-rigid yolk on a steel steam grate brought back fond memories. "As a kid, I would try to fry eggs on the street in Luverne, Minnesota," said Rick Jauert, chief of staff to Rep. David Minge. "I think I was successful, but I'm not sure."

Ziyu Zheng, a Shanghai expatriate, claims that it's so hot in his home town that "people not only fry eggs on the sidewalk, they eat them too."

Pepco manhole covers aren't bad as makeshift griddles. The eggs puddle in the indentations, unlike steel steam grates, where the eggs ooze down into whatever's below.

Eggs curdling on the sidewalk bring out some truly bizarre social and scientific theories. Matt Lewis, 18, believed that "the concept of frying requires no moisture in the air." Thus it wasn't the lack of heat that was impeding the cooking process. It was the humidity.

Another passerby opined that the cool air from the sewer was rendering the manhole cover insufficiently toasty.

Allen Moore, a consultant with Chambers Associates, looked pensively down at the egg and wondered aloud, "I'm trying to figure out the significance of you guys cooking out in front of what used to be the Women's National Bank."

Fran Beelen, a tourist from Holland, took a snapshot of grown men huddled around a clotting egg. "It never gets above 30 degrees centigrade {86 Fahrenheit} in Maastricht," said Beelen, a printer for the Wall Street Journal's European edition.

"If it's about 110 degrees Fahrenheit you can do it," observed Andrew Chaplin, a visitor from Australia. "I've seen it done before."

The manhole cover experiment was interrupted by a Joe Ragan's Coffee truck, which ran over the egg.

This led to the "omelet with Tabasco sauce on black asphalt" phase of the investigation, which attracted the most attention from women who fancied themselves cooks.

"I fry 'em, I scramble 'em, I boil 'em," said Lynnora Best, who works at Adams National Bank. "If there wasn't as much wind, I think they'd cook right up."

Lynn Bostain described herself as the kind of woman who never cooks "if I can help it." But being with the Virginia Division of Tourism, she saw an opportunity.

"It's a lot cooler in Virginia," she said. "Across the river, it's 75 degrees with balmy breezes."