tamago, uzura no tamago
duck eggs, quail eggs
Pick a culture anywhere in the world, and they almost certainly cook with eggs. This is especially true of East and Southeast Asian cuisines!
Whereas eggs in many Western cuisines are often limited to being eaten by themselves or in omelettes, scrambles, or sandwiches, their usage in Asian cooking is quite versatile. Grilled, poached, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, scrambled, fried, raw, preserved; by itself, on rice, in soup, in stew, as a garnish, on sushi, in sushi, stuffed with noodles, mixed with noodles, savory, sweet… generations of East Asian cooking with eggs has created endless imaginative ways to use them.
In Japan, a few beloved methods include the addition of soft-boiled eggs in ramen, a thin, fluffy omelette called tamagoyaki, raw over rice, or in tamagodon — a rice bowl topped with fluffy eggs and other toppings. Additionally, a quail egg is often served raw on top of sushi. Well-known uses of eggs in other East and Southeast Asian cuisines include poached in the broth of sundubu jjigae (Korea), stir-fried in pad see ew or pad thai (Thailand), or as a snack in the form of a Chinese tea egg.
Naturally, these dishes aren’t comprehensive — making an all-encompassing list of all Asia’s egg dishes would be practically impossible. If you’re ever low on eggs and find yourself at Uwajimaya, you can stock up on eggs, quail eggs, and preserved duck eggs in our grocery department.
Types of Eggs
Chicken Eggs (Chinese: darn; Indian: ande; Indonesian: telur; Japanese: tamago; Malaysian: telur; Thai: kai)
Chicken eggs are used in every way imaginable in Asian cooking. A raw egg cracked over hot rice is a familiar Japanese breakfast dish. Thin omelets are rolled up and cut into thin shreds as a garnish.
Duck Eggs (Chinese: yadan)
Not as readily available in the United States as chicken eggs, duck eggs are regarded in China as having a better flavor. Used in much the way that chicken eggs are used, duck eggs are also salted and preserved as thousand-year eggs.
Quail and Pigeon Eggs (Chinese: amchundan; Japanese: uzura no tamago)
The smaller size of pigeon and quail eggs makes them popular to be used whole in dishes. Raw quail eggs are placed atop Japanese sushi and tororo (grated mountain yam) and hard boiled eggs are a popular grilled dish in bars and yakitori restaurants.