Omelettes Around the World

Eggs have been a basic food stuff in most parts of the world for centuries and different variations on the omelette have evolved across many different cultures and cuisines. In Europe we have the French omelette, the Italian frittata and the Spanish tortilla, but travelling further afield we find more intriguing and tasty ways to cook eggs in the pan.

Egg Foo Yung - China

Egg foo yung is one of those Chinese dishes adopted into the British and American Chinese restaurant scene and changing way beyond its origins. It should be served as a crispy omelette, with a mixture of vegetables or chopped meat incorporated into the egg mixture and often with a dipping sauce of soy and chilli alongside. The vegetables, often bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and so on, are stir fried with some soy sauce, then combined with the egg and cooked on both sides as small pancakes or fritters.

Tamagoyaki – Japan

This sweet rolled omelette is a staple of bento boxes and sushi. It is cooked in a similar way to the French omelette, but in several thin layers which are rolled up together as each one is cooked. It has a little sugar and soy sauce added to the egg mix. It can be plain or have a sprinkling of filling (such as nori seaweed, garlic chives or chopped green onion) added between the layers so that the finished roll has a spiral of contrasting colour. It is finished by rolling in a sushi mat and then slicing into several swiss roll-like slices.

Telur Dadar – Indonesia

This Indonesian version of the omelette is cooked with garlic, shallots, chilli and seasoned with salt pepper and ground coriander. It sometimes has a teaspoon of corn starch added to crisp up the omelette and fried on both sides in oil, then eaten with chilli sauce and rice.

Omelette Rice – Korea

A favourite Korean fast food dish, this is a thin omelette cooked with a little milk. It is cooked over a low heat, flipped and then filled with a fried rice and vegetable or meat mixture. It is rolled up and often served with a drizzle of dongaseu sauce or ketchup.

Indian Omelette

A fusion blend of British breakfast omelettes with Indian spices, this is a thin omelette cooked on both sides and flavoured with chilli, turmeric, onion and sometimes other spices. It is usually made with one egg to get a thin pancake texture. It can be served with roti in a roll or just on its own, have tomato and cheese added or not.

There are many regional variations of all these omelettes. You’ll find several versions of the Japanese rolled omelette over Asia, different versions of the Spanish potato omelette in North Africa and adaptations of the French omelette all over Europe and America. Culinary traditions have been shared and adapted wherever people have travelled and colonised and simple recipes such as omelettes are some of the easiest ones to adapt to local tastes just by adding different fillings and spices.