Egg Foo Yung: Chinese Style Omelette | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (2024)

Egg Foo Yung is a quick Chinese-style omelette cooked rather like a pancake. Eaten on its own or part of a larger meal, I think Egg Foo Yung is even better with a savoury, tangy super-fast sauce poured over.

It’s great for using up leftover cooked meat too: shredded ham, pork, chicken or beef all work. For a vegetarian version, substitute mushrooms or beansprouts for the meat.

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First off, how exactly should you spell Egg Foo Yung? Apart from that way, you might also see it as fu yung and foo young. The answer is, I really don’t know.

I also didn’t know if Egg Foo Yung was one of those Chinese-American dishes, like chop suey, that doesn’t really exist in China. But Ken Hom (for my generation of Brits, probably the person who introduced us to Chinese cooking) says that foo yung is a traditional Cantonese dish.

According to Hom, the original version is ‘a work of culinary art’. Its name is said to come from the word furong which means ‘egg white’ and is also used to describe the hibiscus flower.

At the time of writing, you can catch Ken Hom’s TV series ‘Chinese Cookery’ on the BBC iPlayer.

First aired in 1984, if you’ve the slightest interest in Chinese food, I really recommend it. Yes, he cooks lots of tasty, simple dishes. But there’s also segments filmed in Hong Kong which make fascinating viewing.

Highlights for me are the meat, fish and vegetable markets, an unbelievably dextrous example of hand pulling noodles, plus an insight into how ordinary Hong Kong people then ate at home.


Even in the traditional version there are lots of different fillings for Egg Foo Yung. These might include ham, Chinese sausage, prawn, mushrooms and all manner of other vegetables.

I started making Egg Foo Yung as a quick and nutritious solitary weekday lunch. For the filling it was often just some onion, garlic and greens. When beating the eggs I’d add a splash of soy sauce and maybe some coriander leaf. Occasionally I’d add some leftover cooked meat like pork or beef.

But, after realising that Chinese cookery is a serious gap in my culinary knowledge, I then starting edging it towards the more traditional version with the inclusion of Chinese rice wine for instance.


However, almost as soon as I headed in the direction of authenticity, I discovered a tweak that, while gorgeous, nudged it into that Chinese-American territory I thought I wanted to avoid.

The American Egg Foo Yung usually has a sauce or ‘gravy’ poured over it. Often sticky and sweet, it doesn’t sound good.

But I think it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. A couple of extra minutes’ work will give you a glossy sauce full of umami flavour which complements rather than detracts from the dish.

However, if you really don’t want the sauce, just the Egg Foo Yung will still be very, very good.


Although I’ve called Egg Foo Yung an omelette as the main ingredient is eggs, you actually cook it on both sides like a pancake.

Authentically it would be deep fried but, as long as you don’t skimp on the oil, the Egg Foo Yung should still puff up a bit even when shallow fried.

You can use whatever combination of vegetables and meat you like. For this post I included onion, garlic, some leftover smoked gammon, pak choi cabbage and coriander leaf.

I start off by quickly browning the onion then adding the rest of the ingredients. I cook them just enough so the meat starts to catch nicely at the edges and the veg begins to soften.

For the eggs, all you do is lightly beat them with soy sauce, sesame oil and Chinese rice wine. Note that it’s rice wine and not rice vinegar.

The next stage is to combine the eggs with sauteed meat and veg. There’s two ways of doing this.

You could remove the meat and veg from the pan, add fresh oil then pour the eggs in. After the eggs are just set on the bottom, scatter over the meat and veg.

The other method, which I tend to use, is to leave the meat and veg in the pan and just pour the eggs over the top. I’ve done it both ways and found little difference in the end result.

Once the underneath is nicely golden brown (use a spatula to take a peek), you’ll need to turn the Egg Foo Yung over. I don’t worry about getting one large pancake by trying to flip the whole thing over. All I do is mark it into rough quarters and turn these over.

After another minute or so, the other side will be golden brown too and the Foo Yung ready to serve.

I think the quarters look most appetizing stacked one on top of the other.


Once you’ve prepped all the ingredients for the Egg Foo Yung, it’s going to cook very quickly. So, if you’re going to include the sauce, I think you’re best to make that first.

Mind you, after cooking this simple dish a time or two, you’ll probably be doing all three elements at once: mixing the eggs, cooking the filling and bubbling the sauce. This makes it an even quicker meal to put together.

The sauce is incredibly simple. All you do is bring some stock to a simmer with soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil and black pepper. I add a little sugar to balance things out, but don’t go mad. We want this to be a wonderfully savoury sauce, not a sickly sweet one.

If you fancy some heat then add a little chilli sauce or chilli flakes. You can probably leave out the extra sugar if you use sweet chilli sauce.

To thicken the sauce, mix a little cornflour with cold water and stir it in. After a two minute bubble your sauce will be done.


When I want something quick and satisfying to eat, Egg Foo Yung with a tangy, salty sauce hits the spot for me.

A sprinkle of toasted black and white sesame seeds makes a nice visual contrast and provides a little nutty crunch.

But it’s suitable for a larger meal too. We like it with some plain boiled rice on the side and lots of stir-fried green veggies. Cucumber salad, dressed with rice vinegar and sesame oil makes for some nice crunchy contrast.

Make sure there’s plenty of that savoury sauce too.

Just don’t tell Ken Hom.

Egg Foo Yung: Chinese Style Omelette | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (13)


Good for using up leftover cooked meat, this quickly cooked Chinese style omelette can be made with shredded ham, pork, chicken or beef. Substitute mushrooms or beansprouts for a vegetarian version.

The Foo Yung is even better with a salty, tangy sauce poured over.

CourseMain Course, Side Dish, Starter, Lunch



Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 1

Author Moorlands Eater


For the Foo Yung

  • 2largeeggs
  • 1tsplight soy sauce
  • 1tspChinese rice wine
  • 1tspsesame oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1tbspfat or oile.g. pork/chicken fat, groundnut/sunflower oil
  • half a small onionfinely chopped or sliced
  • 1handfulpak choi, cabbage or other greensroughly shredded
  • 1clovegarlicfinely chopped or shredded
  • 50gcooked meat e.g. ham, pork, chicken, beefshredded (see Recipe Notes for vegetarian alternatives)
  • 1tbspcoriander leaf (optional)torn or roughly chopped
  • 1tsptoasted sesame seeds (optional)

For the (optional) sauce

  • 60mlchicken or vegetable stocklow salt if possible
  • 10mllight soy sauceapprox half a tablespoon
  • 10mlChinese rice wineapprox half a tablespoon
  • 1tspsesame oil
  • black pepperto taste
  • 0.5tspsugaroptional
  • chilli flakes or sweet chilli sauceoptional
  • 0.5tspcornflour
  • 2tspwater


For the (optional) sauce

  1. Put all the ingredients except the cornflour and water into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour and water to a paste.

    Add the paste to the contents of the saucepan and quickly whisk until the sauce thickens.

    Turn the heat to very low & cook for 2 minutes.

    Set aside while you make the omelette.

For the Foo Yung omelette

  1. Break the eggs into a bowl.

    Add the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil, black pepper plus a little salt then beat lightly together. Set aside.

  2. Put the fat or oil in a medium frying pan and heat to moderate.

    Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softening and starting to brown (approx 10 min).

  3. Add the greens, garlic and meat (or substitute veg), season lightly with salt & pepper and cook until the greens are starting to wilt and the meat is taking on some colour.

  4. Turn the heat up a little, stir in the coriander leaf, then pour over the beaten egg mixture.

    Leave to cook until the bottom of the omelette is set and is golden brown.

  5. Turn the omelette over: doing this in sections is easier & I think gives a better-looking finished dish. I cut it into quarters and turn each quarter over.

  6. Cook until the other side is also golden brown then stack the pieces in a bowl.

  7. If using the sauce, reheat if necessary then pour over the foo yung.

  8. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if using and serve.

Recipe Notes

Vegetable Egg Foo Yung: substitute beansprouts or sliced mushrooms for the meat.

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Egg Foo Yung: Chinese Style Omelette | Recipes | Moorlands Eater (2024)


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The most important difference between a regular egg omelette and authentic egg foo yung is the filling. There are countless variations you can embrace with the basic egg foo yung recipe, but the ingredients list will usually include an assortment of vegetables like onions, bean sprouts and mushrooms.

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(名) As a noun
煎蛋jiāndànfried egg
欧姆蛋ōumǔ dànomelette

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Word History and Origins

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