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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

                            2. Not in Chinatown, but I used to get it at Nulite Kitchen.

                              1. Several old school places have good old-fashioned EFY but none of them list it with pork, shrimp & bean spouts etc. for a slight charge I'm sure they would accomodate you.

                                New Woey Loy Goey, SF.

                                The restaurant across the street from San Tung, Golden Rice Bowl has it too. The owner is very agreeable and hospitable. It's his pleasure to accomodate a guest. At one point he even served old-fashioned East coast "chow mein" which I had never seen in SF.

                                China First on Clement but the EFY was too browned, too leathery of crust for me.

                                EFY cseems to descend from a Tai Shan dish called sliced Lotus flour Egg orgianally made with only egg whites. Have never had it that way.

                                1. Peninsula Seafood Restaurant has six different egg foo young on its menu.
                                  641 Jackson St
                                  (415) 398-8383

                                  thanks to Ruth for directing our attention to PSR

                                  1. I had a surprisingly great egg foo young at Empress of China this afternoon for around $13. There were a few silver haired couples doing the early bird who all ordered it as well, so perhaps it's either a house specialty or just popular with the old white folks. Anyhow, it was a bit more refined then what I'm used to from growing up in Montreal. The gravy was served separately in a dish to be ladled on top, rather than cooked and served together as I've known it. It had all the usual ingredients (bonus for sourcing fresh shrimp) minus the bbq pork, although I ordered it alongside the Empress fried rice which was loaded with cubes of char siu and some type of sausage which I actually didn't care for, so it made for the perfect compliment. In fact, I would always only order them together here. The only addition which I didn't particularly care for was celery strips which I don't like in anything, so I'm biased and would ask for them to be left out in future. Anyhow, it really hit the spot and was just what I was looking for. I actually thought it tasted better than any egg foo young order that I've had back east in many, many years. If anyone else is craving nostalgic comfort food like this, Empress is a solid choice and gets my seal of approval!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: OliverB

                                      Thank you! With your posting, I found Pressed Duck on their menu $20.95 -

                                    2. I fondly remember the old-style egg fu young -- eggy pancakes filled with bean sprouts,etc. and either BBQ pork or shrimp. There were three of them and they came with brown gravy and were among the cheapest things on the menu. With some steamed rice you had a meal with some left over.

                                      In Marin County this EFY concept seems to no longer exist. What I get when I order it is one large flat omelet with stir-fried stuff in sauce piled on top. Not what I had in mind.

                                      And where are the bean sprouts? EFY NEEDS those bean sprouts.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Sharuf

                                        Somewhere in Marin there must still be an old-school Chinese-American restaurant. Novato, maybe. Or the non-trendy parts of San Rafael.

                                        The place I usually order take-out from has egg fu yung exactly the way you describe: three thick patties with beansprouts and bits of meat, thick brown gravy, and a side order of rice. Around $5, I think.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          Ruth -- what and where is this take-out place? Around $5 you say?

                                          1. re: Sharuf

                                            Unfortunately, it's in Alameda (http://www.gimschinesekitchen.com/Din...). And it's take-out or delivery only -- which I assume is what keeps the prices so low. But I have to believe that in some of the older, less trendy parts of Marin there are Chinese restaurants that are still serving up food straight out of the '50s.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              I made sure to order the BBQ pork EFY in your honor:

                                      2. I was raised in Detroit,MI and grew up around my uncles Chinese Restaurant named UT Garden, and remember Egg Foo Young being a dish that was made with 3 scrambled eggs,some bean sprouts, diced green onions,sliced button mushrooms and whatever meat choice you desired(CharShiu,Shrimp,Chicken Breast) you wanted that was diced up and mixed into the egg mixture , a scoop of the mixed ingredients was gently dropped into a wok full of oil, browned on one side then turned over to cook on the other side. Always 3 patties to a order with the all purpose brown gravy covering it.
                                        Served with steamed white rice smothered with the gravy.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Linnster

                                          Ahhh...so that's how the patties are formed! Have some char shiu to use up and thought of EFY. Going to give it a go tomorrow. I totally miss the EFY from a little hole-in-the-wall place close to my former workplace in Sunnyvale called The New Orient. The house version had char shiu, prawns, and chicken. Comfort food indeed!