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Jul 30, 2013 12:31 PM

Best Cantonese style Egg Foo Young?

Heavy East Coast (old New York!) comfort style; pan fried to a golden bronze crisp, with thick strips of char siu and messy chunks of fresh shrimp, mushrooms, chopped scallions, bean sprouts, peas, cabbage, etc. all drenched in a gooey brown gravy to be shoveled out of a cardboard take-out carton and piled onto a plate of vegetable fried rice!

Are there any old spots in Chinatown that serve this?

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    1. re: LordMorris

      Just curious as to what you find gross about it.
      Have you ever had it? When well made, it's actually a very rich and succulent dish!

      It is still one of my favorite 'old school' Cantonese style dishes. Actually a nice change of pace from the Americanized (sugar laden) Szechuan/Hunan fare which I like but which has become so routine .
      In any case, as Ruth points out, it certainly is great comfort food.

      1. re: The Professor

        Is that really a Cantonese dish? I grew up in Hong Kong, and had never heard about that till I had that served at the Cal cafeteria in college. Wiki says it's really a dish from Shanghai.

        1. re: vincentlo

          Could be...I guess I assumed Cantonese because all of the old Cantonese places that were so common around 50 years ago featured it. Wherever it originated, it's still a favorite of mine.

            1. re: The Professor

              Vincent: I think the OP's reference to "old New York" is using a connotation of "Cantonese" that isn't common in the Bay Area, at least not younger folks. My NY family talks about chop suey, egg foo young, etc. as "Cantonese food" and contrasts it with the Chinese-American foods that began to emerge in the 1960s and after.

              Had Chinese-American food simply been called "Chinese Food" before then by non-Chinese people, and has this usage of "Cantonese" ever been popular on the West Coast?

            2. re: vincentlo

              I have a couple of Cantonese friends from Hongkong who grew up with this dish. It is nothing like the deep fried American cousin. Here's a three minute video in Cantonese:


              1. re: scoopG

                I've never had deep-fried egg foo yung -- every version I've seen has been pan fried.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The egg foo young served up at countless American-Chinese joints is deep fried and covered in brown gravy.

                  Yes, the initial patty is made by frying. Since it is a popular item, dozens are made at one time and when cooled, frozen for later use. The patties (usually two per order) are then deep fried, ladled with gravy and served with rice.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    Maybe in some parts of America, but not around here, and not on the East Coast, apparently, since the original poster specified "pan fried."

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Certainly done this way in the upper Midwest and in NY and DE.

                    2. re: scoopG

                      Wow...I've never encountered a 'prepared ahead and frozen' version of this dish. Can't even see the point of doing it that way since egg foo young is so insanely fast and easy to put together.

                      1. re: The Professor

                        In an American-Chinese restaurant serving 50 a day it makes it much quicker. The work is done by a junior cook. It's like egg rolls, they are made 1-2 times a week. Gravy made daily and is set in the steam table.

                    3. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Pan-fried is how I know it - at home - with gravy.

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        Pan fried is the way I just got take out at Mac's Wok. Eggs, bean sprouts, green beans,carrot, onions and pork. 21 ounce pancake with 1/1/2 cups brown sauce on the side. Classic for me and only $6.88. Great lunch and dinner.No rice.

                2. re: The Professor

                  Cuisine evolves. EFY is a terrific comforting Chinese frittata with sauce even it's an Amercanized bastard dish.

                3. re: LordMorris

                  One mans' "Gross" is another mans' "Gourmet"...!!!

                  To each there own...

                  1. re: ChowFun_derek

                    True enough...but I was only wondering if his l
                    lordship called it 'gross' based on actual taste experience or simply based on the description...or maybe an aversion to eggs to being with???

                    Looks like it was just a drive-by comment anyway rather than entry into the discussion. :-/

                4. There must be. I have to admit I have a fondness for old-fashioned egg foo young. It's comfort food. But I get it from my local take-out place -- I have no idea in Chinatown.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    It was a Sunday night staple growing up on the East Coast; especially great on a cold winter's night, with an oversized bath towel laid out on the green '70s carpet in front of the TV set while watching cartoons! I hate to consider it a guilty pleasure as there's no guilt whatsoever in my books. I'd love to find a place that serves it the way I remember, with thick crispy egg rolls and fried rice. It doesn't have to be in Chinatown though that would be conveniently located to our apartment on Van Ness in Pac Heights.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      It is comfort food, indeed; my dad made it at home for us with eggs, onions, bean sprouts, mushrooms, shrimp or pork...leftovers in frig.

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        Exactly! My German grandmother would do something similar with leftovers. It's a simple and nutritious way to use up little bits of things.

                    2. Far East Cafe could be what you're looking for.

                      Big Lantern on 16th has it and the pictures look intriguing.

                      That said, I've never had the dish myself.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sugartoof

                        I love Far East Cafe!

                        Not for the food (only eaten once or twice and it was passable) but the ambiance and decor is worth it alone; especially those private booths which feel like a Chinese Sam's! I'd give the egg foo young a shot there; I bet they'd do it decent.

                        I'll report back on my findings!

                        1. re: OliverB

                          It's a gem, and the perfect setting for egg foo young. Looking forward to hearing how it went.

                      2. Does it have to be from Chinatown?

                        Which one?

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: Mission

                            Nope, could be anywhere in the city I suppose!

                          2. Anyone tried it at China Hut #2 in El Cerrito, Peppermint Plaza near Ba Li.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: wolfe

                              Isn;t it a place called Asian Harbor now?

                              1. re: kc72

                                You are correct. I guess China Hut was 1 or 2 names ago. There have been 4 or 5 changes and some of them had egg foo young. I remember the restaurant there that had the long very confusing menu and the unique pricing. I had their EFY and it was a taste from the past, Detroit 1950's.

                                1. re: wolfe

                                  Yeah, that was Jac's Asian Bistro.. they moved to the Jay Vee Shopping Center up the street and are now called Mac's Wok