Egg Foo Young
Egg Foo Young
Egg Foo Young pictures (1 of 4)

I have a story to tell you about my first encounter with egg foo young, the quintessential Chinese-American dish.

A long time ago, when I first set my foot on the US soil for higher education, I went straight to the middle America. After 36 hours of tiresome journey from my hometown of Penang, Malaysia, I arrived in the state of Iowa. Starved to death and completely disoriented, Mr. Rasa Malaysia (then my boyfriend) chauffeured me to the best Chinese restaurant for a welcome lunch. Among the dishes I ordered, there was egg foo young, or 芙蓉蛋, an egg dish that I love and enjoy very much.

When my food came, I was shocked to find out that my egg foo young didn’t look much like what I had back home in Malaysia (where great and authentic Chinese food is plentiful and popular). The egg foo young was puffy, almost shaped like an UFO, doused and drowned in a gloppy brown sauce. There was a thick filling of various and random vegetables: bean sprout, carrot, water chestnut, celery, and scallion. However, the most horrid thing of it all was the taste—completely bland, utterly insipid, loaded with flour (where were the eggs?), and the starchy brown sauce was simply adding salt to the wound, rendering the whole dish completely undesirable, and simply….inedible. That was my first (sad) reality about Chinese food in America. I was stunned and speechless, after that first encounter with egg foo young, or American Chinese food.

Fast forward many years to present time, egg foo young is one of the most requested recipes from my American readers. I have received numerous emails, messages, comments about my egg foo young recipe. The truth is, I don’t really have a recipe, until today. The egg foo young I cook and eat is something like this, but nothing EVER like this.

Egg Foo Young

Since my readers want to make egg foo young, I feel obliged to develop a decent and proper egg foo young recipe for them. And hence, I came out with my version of egg foo young, which is closer to the ones served here in the United States, but without the brown sauce. I also took out water chestnut and those random vegetables, and included only bean sprouts and some chopped scallions in the eggs. For the protein, I added some ground pork and shrimp. I combined the seasonings with the eggs, so there is really NO need to have the brown sauce on top of the eggs. And as the name suggests, this is egg foo young, not egg foo young pancake, so there is no flour or corn starch in this recipe.

If you are looking for the “real” Americanized egg foo young with the sauce, don’t feel disappointed. Try my egg foo young recipe and soon you will realize that the brown sauce is really not that great. And trust me, Chinese food in the United States will be so much better off without them!

RECIPE HERE: Egg Foo Young
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61 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Mary Gallagher says:

    You don’t say if the pork and shrimp are already cooked before adding to the omelet. I am assuming so.

  2. Sherry says:

    This looks delicious… I love how your recipes take me back to when my mom used to make me authentic Filipino dishes. I like Chinese but I always feel that the Chinese in the restaurants isn’t truly authentic…

    I would love to see your take on authentic Egg Foo Yung. :) I would try both this one and the more authentic one! And to be honest, I was never too huge on the gravy, either. It just gets too rich at that point.

  3. Kim says:

    Thanks for your recipe. I have been wanting to cook Egg Foo Yong but did not bother to search the website for the recipe. I have tried it before at one of the restaurants in Johore many years ago and liked it very much. Now that I am in Texas, I have to learn how to cook and I will definitely cook this!

    • janmaus says:

      Depending on where you live in Texas, you may have wonderful Chinese food or dreadful. I spent many years in Austin where there are quite a few excellent ones.

      My first experience with egg foo yung was actually with a LaChoy cooking kit when I was a teen–decades ago–and it turned out more like yours (if made with canned veggies) than the photo of the bad one. Thanks for posting–I had forgotten how much I enjoy a really good egg fu yung!! it’s a terrific dish for a fast and easy supper. I like mushrooms in mine, too.

      Ps–grew up in Iowa, but the Chinese restaurants there weren’t quite as awful as those in NC.

  4. Debra says:

    Ooh, looks delicious. I like that you cut out the unnecessary parts! Look forward to trying this out.

  5. Mark Olberding says:

    I generally love your recipes and this one is no exception. One question I have to ask; what city in Iowa? I live in Iowa and am just curious.

  6. Jayne says:

    oooh… I winced a little hearing about your experience. It’s a sacrilege to douse the eggs with gloopy brown sauce! I much prefer the Malaysian version. Fresh and fragrant without the need to boost flavours up with suspicious additions.

  7. kgompper says:

    Now you have me curious about the sauce. I was raised on the CA west coast by a little bit of a foodie mom. I don’t ever remember any brown sauce or gravies ever, except on Thanksgiving. Maybe brown sauces are more common elsewhere but to me ‘brown sauce’ is English. I wonder if it found its way onto the top of egg foo young while in England. Or maybe Hawaii. You ever have Plate Lunch on the islands?

  8. AnakMalaysia says:

    Greeting from Malaysia ….

    Thank you for the recipe

    Instead of ground pork, I always use roast pork (char siew), cut in julienne strips. I also add some red chili , also cut in julienne strips for presentation.

  9. Lin says:

    That is so strange the British version of egg foo young looks more like scrambled egg and you wouldn’t find it with brown gravy or sauce in any restaurant or takeaway here. How interesting that in different countries, cooking style is so different and unique. Egg foo young is also very popular here in the uk :)

  10. David carlson says:

    We made this the day you posted – it is the best egg foo young ever.

  11. Dorach says:

    I woke up that morning u posted this recipe, wondering what to cook for dinner. I checked my email & thankfully there is an e-mail from Rasa Malaysia abt egg foo yong. I had all the ingredients in my fridge. This is yummy & easy & wholesome. My family likes it, and that makes me happy :-)

    Not sure if there is gravy in egg foo yong in NZ. Never ordered this at restaurants.

  12. Wendy says:

    I just searched for egg foo young, I too dislike the brown gravy. I missed the way my grandma used to make them when I was growing up in Hawaii. This recipe is very similar (without the crazy stuff added, that’s what fried rice is for!).

    I do however may be able to shed some light for you about the brown gravy addition… In Hawaii, there are a mixture of cultures as you know, and ‘plate food’ or ‘truck food’ as you know is always loaded with calories, rarely paletable, but filling! Much of the plantation food was created this way and then later translated to ‘plate’. This part of the history I know for sure.. the part I dont know and will guess is this: how it got to the mainland is a mystery. Hawaii became a state in 1959 and with it came a lot of marketing, political turmoil and tourism. The other guess, before statehood, (from my CA history, WA history and HI history classes).. the trade routes between all three states dates back to the early 1800’s, not just commodities, but humans got around this way also, including what they chose to eat.

  13. Trish Butler says:

    I love egg foo young and no one makes it right. Yours looks like the right one. I can’t wait to try it. A lot of times it’s served with a gravy. Do you have a recipe that would go with this dish? I thank you for your time and talent.

  14. Russ Pichlik says:

    My introduction to egg foo young happened about sixty-five years ago in Chicagoland. The venue was a small mom and pop take out restaurant in the suburbs. On a Saturday after shopping for groceries and such(mom didn’t drive a car)a quick meal would be something from the takeout restaurant. Egg foo young was my favorite. And sorry to say to you, brown gravy was included and relished. Makes little difference to me whether you call it Chinese or whatever. It was just right for me. Perhaps being a purist appeals to some, but frankly what appeals to me is food which satisfies my tastebuds regardless of what trademark you wish to attach to it!!!!! Carry on!

  15. Michele Simpson says:

    I tried this recipe and even my two picky children loved it. My son asked for more! Thanks for posting this, it is so flavorful and juicy, it was a great hit at our house.

  16. Brandy says:

    How do you make it fluffy? Mine is kind of runny, not fluffy like the pic. Love it from the resturant as its fluffy mine was flat

  17. Apells says:

    I just made this (the egg part, I had leftovers for the veg and protein), and it is fabulous. I’ve never liked the weird brown sauce this comes with, and these eggs would be insulted if I topped them with it. Thank you!

  18. C.B. Teng says:

    Hi! I was looking for the recipe “Foo Yong Prawns or Crabmeat” and I noticed that the net doesn’t give me the recipe that I have in mind.. What the recipes have here are deep fried foo yong.. Mine is more on the vegetable version and the ingredients are more in terms of vegetables.. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find the one that I know of which I cooked quite often when I was still living in Penang..
    thanks for your recipe though.. I just hope I can find what I was looking for…

  19. Keith says:

    Thanks for the recipe..
    Grew up with Egg Foo young with gravy in Hawaii and can find it in many restaurants in Hawaii and California with the gravy. The gravy is just chicken broth, shoyu and slurry of corn starch and water. It’s easier if the pork and shrimp are cooked and mixed in with the vegetables. Of course there are many ways to make this.

  20. Nishi says:

    I have to have gravy with egg foo young. But not the cornstarch based sauce stuff–it has to be made with a roux and using stock made with pork and chicken bones that has been simmering for hours.

  21. urbanus says:

    I spent my teens living on Penang and can honestly say I never ate anything resembling most american-chinese food. In fact I never even heard of some dishes until I visited the USA. Anyhow, egg foo yung is a case in point; as you note what we ate on Penang is nothing like the stodge served up in the USA. The dish was always served with sauce and never on rice. The sauce should be very light and tasty to enhance but not smother the dish; I thought it was made by diluting oyster sauce with a little stock, maybe some rice wine or water.

    Your posts bring back great memories of the place I still consider home away from home. I used to regularly enjoy a feed of crab foo yung, or foo yung hai, and occasionally oyster omelette (this was one dish that was usually made better in Singapore). Maybe you could have a crack at these? Other egg dishes I used to like were egg sambal and chilli crab (best from Nibong Tibal village on the mainland) … awesome.

  22. Stuart says:

    I love your website! When preparing the Egg Foo Young, which ingredients go into the egg mixture and which are added after the eggs have begun setting-up in the wok/pan? Thanks very much!

  23. Ed says:

    Tasty looking recipe but I will be using the sauce……..very similar to the type on Broccoli Beef…..and not SMOTHERED. I think the “smothered” is a bit of an exaggeration.

  24. Liz says:

    Nice recipe. Thanks so much

  25. Adeline says:

    Hi! I’m totally new to cooking stuff, so excuse me if this is a very simple question but:

    I have one of those induction cookers with a billion temperature settings. For Asian/Chinese cooking, what temperature range should I be cooking in? I tried this dish out – the first one was too hot and it got charred, the second didn’t look as nicely browned as the one in the picture, though it tasted good.


  26. k mommy says:

    Hi Bee, I saw in the picture that it looks like you add some spring onions, is this correct? Thanks. PS: I love your recipes, I have tried many of them for my family and they love it!

  27. lisa says:

    This Egg Foo Young recipe was a total hit for my family, even the kids!! This is a keeper, “Thank you” for posting this recipe. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  28. shimi says:

    I am loving the recipes you have been posting lately! Reading my mind about the foods I miss from Singapore. This egg foo young recipe is awesome. I’m not a big fan of pork however. What else could I sub in for the ground pork?

  29. Camille says:

    Shrimp egg foo yung is my absolute favorite. But I have to admit I love the peanut oil gravy that comes with it (not the dark brown sauce). Do you happen to have a recipe for the peanut gravy? If so please share it because only a few restaurants serve that way thanks.

  30. Wyguy says:

    What a great egg foo young. Thank you Bee.

  31. phil says:

    I precooked the onions, mushrooms and shrimps first…….and then added mixed veg (frozen and diced)

    do you mix all the liquids / oils together with the eggs ?

    i did and although the mixture looked darker it seemed to work

  32. Melissa Adams says:

    Just had to tell my story. First though, yes, king sea is still there. It is downtown. My hubby grew up in Sioux City and I grew up in Storm Lake, IA.
    I haven’t tried your recipe yet but sounds delicious. There was a “Chinese” restaurant in Yankton, SD. OMG I loved their Egg Foo Yung! BUT, they were small and fairly thin and had a thin, dark dipping sauce you could use or not. I have never been able to duplicate it, nor found a recipe similar.
    Anyway, While in Rochester, MN (Mayo Clinic) hubby took me out for my favorite. (Egg Foo Yung. What I was served was what looked like a huge steaming plate of runny cow poop! An inch of bitter yet tasteless cloudy brown goo over a rubber tire with raw veggies and bean sprouts. Disgusting!!
    Your recipe sounds delicious. It will be my first attempt at even eating Egg Foo Yung since that unfortunate instance. SO HAPPY THAT I FOUND YOUR SITE!!!!

  33. Melissa Adams says:

    Would you please correct the recipe and tell us which ingredients to mix with the eggs and which to add after they start to set? I’m guessing the sugar and the liquids go with the eggs and the vegetables and meat after. Is this right?

  34. Thea Pappalardo says:

    In my opinion, egg foo young without gravy is like spaghetti and meatballs without sauce.

    • Hi Thea, egg foo young is not supposed to have sauce to begin with, I mean the real egg foo young. The thing about spaghetti without the sauce is that it’s not edible. But egg foo young without sauce is edible and actually SO MUCH better, as the flavors are already inside the eggs.

  35. Jim says:

    Ive always liked a brown gravy made with oyster sauce wit my egg foo yung.

  36. kc says:

    Is there any substitution for shaoxing wine?..I cannot find 1 in AK. Thanks! :)

  37. gloria kourounis says:

    I have loved egg fu yong since i was a teenager but never tried to make it. I will be making it this week according to your recipe and I’m sure it will turn out just great.
    I am of hispanic origin and cannot get the ingredients i need to make the food of my country here in Greece. So, since I have no problem getting chinese food ingredients here in Greece, I have decided to cook Chinese recipies! I will let you know how the egg fu yong turns out. Thx, GK

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