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Egg Foo Young (Old School version)

It Is getting harder for me to find tasty Egg Foo Young. Who makes your favorite?I

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  1. For good old school egg foo young you need to find a good, old school Chinese-American restaurant. I live in Alameda, and I get my egg foo young fix from Gim's (take out/delivery only). Three thick (heavy!) patties smothered in brown gravy with a side of rice. Yum!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Ruth, I have never tried Gim's although I know it has been there forever. Any particularly outstanding dishes to try? Something somewhat sturdy that won't wilt in a to go package? I have been underwhelmed with most of the Chinese places I have tried in town since moving back to Alameda.

      1. re: foodfan

        I really hesitate to "recommend" Gim's to anyone who enjoys "real" Chinese food. As the saying goes, "it is what it is": cheap, old-fashioned, gloppy Chinese-American takeout food -- I consider it "comfort food."

        In addition, in the 20 years I've been ordering from them, the quality varies a lot, presumably depending on who's in the kitchen. I've had food from them that was virtually inedible (and, in fact, after a couple of bad batches in a row back in the late '90s I stopped ordering from them completely for a while), and I've had food from them (recently) that was better than decent. I don't order from them often enough to track what the good days and bad days are, though. The fried chicken wings are reliably pretty good (fortunately they still use cartons, not styrofoam, so they don't get soggy, and I only live two blocks away, so they're always piping hot); the wrappers on the potstickers are flabby and doughy, but the filling is pretty tasty; as I've said, the egg foo young is "classic"; the beef stir fries are generally not bad -- the chicken is more iffy. The shrimp can be tough, but I like the preps on the garlic shrimp and the shrimp with lobster sauce (thanks, Derek, for inspiring me to order it). I like the tofu with BBQ pork, and the hot and sour soup is over-thickened but has lots of stuff in it and is decently sour.

        I think my last order was: potstickers, BBQ pork egg foo young, shrimp with lobster sauce and beef with tender greens, and I think it lasted me about six meals.

        Oh, and thinking about it, I just realized that I've never gotten that cotton-mouth from too much MSG from them. I'm sure they use it, but they don't over use it.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Thanks for the reply, it seems the search goes on. I like Chin Hua, used to like the XLMB at The Ark but haven't been since the ownership change, like East Ocean but live on the other end of the island. I know, the island is not that big! Looking forward to the new Vietnamese place.

    2. Ruth - Thanks.
      Anyone else have any suggestions?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bob Copeland

        I wish I did, this has me craving Egg Foo Young.. might be something to order in my home town Santa Barbara next visit.

        1. re: Bob Copeland

          I'm thinking maybe Yet Wah on Clement may have it, or the Diamond Hts one.

        2. Yet Wah doesn't have it anymore. The original chef is retired and now his sons run the business. They are doing the popular HK style chinese cooking.

          Did you try Kam's? They are very old school.

          1. There is a small chinese restaurant in the peppermint plaza in El Cerrito just a few doors down
            from Ba Le (good bahn mi) that has egg foo yung. One large omelet. Sorry no name.

            1. K L restaurant, while it's hardly Americanized Chinese in most respects, has several foo yong dishes listed on its menu. I've only been there for dim sum, not dinner, so I don't know if it's "Old School" or not. There are "fu young" (furong) dishes in China, usually featuring extensive use of egg white (furong means Chrysanthemum).

              Patricia Unterman's recent review of a banquet at K L is here:


              1. I am orginally from the east coast and I am all about the egg foo young! When I first came to Cali back in 2000 I couldn't find it or at least not the ol' school style you are talking about (talk about being disappointed when you don't get what you are expecting). My quest ended in 2006 when I found Hong Kong Restaurant in Oakland. I have never actually eaten in the restaurant but I have had their take out. I was working in Berkeley and found them in the phone book! It satisfies my craving until I go visit my folks in upstate NY.

                11 Replies
                1. re: kimmykismet

                  There are a number of East coast favorites hard to find in Bay Area. Egg Foo Yung, Moo Goo Gai Pan (almost sounds like a joke), fried won ton strips to drop into your Egg Drop Soup, etc. However, many old time Chinese cooks will prepare some of these delights if asked. Especially if you cross their palms with silver. The famous Joe Jung ( a superb Chinese chef) served old-fashioned Chow Mein at one of his restaurants (the stuff served on prefried canned or packaged noodles) and said it was surprisingly popular. I happen to like it, myself.

                  1. re: OldTimer

                    I don't think Egg Foo Yung is hard to find. However, as a California native, I never heard of Moo Goo Gai Pan until I started reading books and seeing movies set in NY.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Many places have Egg Foo Young...my question................................. Is there a "New School Version" that I should be trying???!!!

                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                        What I've been served in recent years is one large flat omelet, topped with a pile of stir-fried meat and vegs and plentiful gravy. This is not what I had in mind.

                        To me, "old style" is three eggy pancakes containing plentiful beansprouts, BBQ pork or shrimp, and topped with plain gravy. The bean sprouts are the most important element.

                        1. re: Sharuf

                          Thanks...I'll stick with the "Old Style" as well!

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        What's in a name? Moo Goo Gai Pan is probably just called "mushroom chicken" in English on the menus here. You never hear "sub gum" for "mixed vegetables" in SF, either. But "moo goo gai pan" is fun to say. There was even a popular doo-wop song by The Rays called "Moo Goo Gai Pan".

                        1. re: Xiao Yang

                          I remember "sub gum" from the 1950's here in the Bay Area.

                          1. re: Xiao Yang

                            moo goo gai pan can mean soooo many things across this continent...

                            in the area of KS/MO it usu. is snow peas and chicken in a white gravy.

                            I'm just always annoyed by the dumbing down for us "haoli"/round-eyes. I'm not scared or picky. give me the chance to try.

                            I want real Chinese and it's darn hard to find in some cities.

                            1. re: hill food

                              The KS/MO version is definitely misnamed, unless it also has mushrooms in it. Moo goo gai pan in Chinese (θ˜‘θ‡ιΈ‘η‰‡) literally means "mushroom chicken slices"

                              1. re: Xiao Yang

                                Thanks to a Chinese waiter on the Bob Newhart show I found out exactly what Moo Goo Gai Pan is. Button Mushroom with Sliced Chicken stir fry.

                                Moo Goo is Button Mushrooms either freshed or canned. I guess in the button mushrooms was much cheaper than Shitake mushrooms.

                                1. re: yimster

                                  To be technical, I think moo goo (mo gu) is used for mushrooms that grow on the ground, while mushrooms that are grown on logs (like shitake mushroms) are colled "xiang gu"

                    2. B & M Mei Sing on 2nd just south of Market. Excellent, hefty, eggy, sprouty and
                      only a couple of bucks at the steamtable. Possibly lunch only.

                      1. The Chef's place by the Trader Joe's in the El Cerrito Plaza has an egg foo young dish if you sit in the restaurant rather than get takeout from the steam table. I've never gotten it but the one time I ate in the restaurant an elderly Chinese woman next to us got it. Looked great! Our food was pretty good but my husband is addicted to the pork rib takeout and I do like the takeout basil fish.

                        1. I usually have to go to Chicago for that. Like "chop suey" and General Tso's chicken out East, it seems like one of those regional American takes on Chinese food that's hard to find out West.

                          1. Fortune Cookie on Webster, in Alameda, makes all your old-school American Chinese favorites, including Egg Foo Young, Chop Suey, General's Chicken, and so on. Take out or delivery only.

                            Their sign isn't as cool as Gim's but the food is better IMO.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Hollow Leg

                              Gim's makes pretty good egg foo yung, though. Just like Sharuf described: three thick patties with lots of bean sprouts and a liberal dousing with brown gravy. For some mysterious reason, it also comes with a small order of rice. I'm still puzzled at the idea egg foo yung is hard to find. Maybe in some of the "New Chinatown" areas, but just about anywhere else it's still a staple.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Yuo are right, it is lurking on many menus but we don't notice it or choose not to. It's one of those "legacy" items that are kept on menus because someone may order it.

                                The now-defunct Shanghai restaurant on Judah and 9th had several chop suey dishes on the menu along with hardcore Shanghainese specialties. We asked the staff about it, and were told that they had no idea what "chop suey' dishes were, but no one ever ordered them anyway.

                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                  Exactly. And chop suey and egg foo yung are dishes that basically perform the same function: a tasty thing to do with leftovers and cheap filler. When I was growing up a standard weekend breakfast dish was corn cakes or rice cakes: left over corn or rice, mixed with maybe some scallion and some leftover meat and bound together with beaten egg and fried like a pancake -- basically, egg foo yung, even though it's lineage was through the German side of my family.

                            2. It's definitely on the menu at Shan Dong, but I have never ordered it (so I cannot describe it).