Egg foo yong/ Fu yung hai
What is foo yong hai or egg foo yong?
The Chinese dish foe yong hai (pronounced: phoo-yung-haj) is an omelette filled with vegetables and, if desired, chicken, meat or shrimp, served with a sweet tomato-like sauce. Hai means crab and refers to one of the original ingredients of the dish, the crab is now hard to find, but the name remains the same.
East vs. West
Foo yong hai is derived from an egg dish originating in Shanghai, containing ham or chicken and is served in slices. Today’s foe yong hai bears little resemblance to the original dish. Chinese immigrants have taken the dish around the world and adopted it to the locally available ingredients and tastes. This is why the dish is served with a red sauce in Europe, while in America and Indonesia a brown gravy-like soy sauce is used, and Indonesians prefer to eat it “dry”.
How to prepare foe yong hai
A delicious European foo yong hai omelette is crispy on the outside but juicy on the inside and served with a mild sweet red sauce.
The sauce is prepared first- typical ingredients are broth, tomato puree, sugar, sweet soy sauce and ginger. The sauce is thickened with cornflour to suit European tastes.
The ingredients chosen for the omelette are mixed with egg and often include ham, leek, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, bamboo shoots, shredded chicken and pieces of pork. A crispy omelette is baked on the outside in a fairly hot pan (the egg pancake was originally fried but that is seldom seen nowadays) The foo yong hai is served with a generous amount of sauce.
Foo yong hai can easily be made without meat or fish so it is well suited to vegetarians.
How to eat
The dish is normally eaten with a plate of white rice or simple fried rice.
You can find omelette dishes all over the world. The French have the omelette, Italians have the frittata and in the middle east people eat kokoo, and omelette with fresh herbs. If you prefer no eggs, the Japanese okonomiyaki is a stuffed pancake made from egg free batter.