It’s a big world out there—with a big appetite for eggs. Ready for something new? Break out of your stomping grounds and try this sampler of some of the egg-y treats from the four corners of the world. Next time you’ve got a hankering for comfort food with something a l’il different, check Yelp! These international egg dishes might be out of this world, but we bet you can find a great spot serving them up somewhere near you. Bon appétit!
Shakshouka is a favorite in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and every region has their own spin on it. It’s simple to make and — we think — a pleasure to eat. And we mean real simple. It’s basically poached eggs served in a cast iron dish with a ton of vegetables. In fact, the word shakshouka (or shakshuka) means “mixture” in Arabic. It’s not just for breakfast, either! In Israel, it’s common to order shakshouka for dinner. You can serve it to suit different tastes, too, from the mild to the spicy. For the most intense variation, try the Yemeni take. It comes with a side of zhoug, a potent hot sauce that’ll make your shakshouka a breakfast (or brunch, or dinner) you’ll never forget.
Not all international egg dishes are going to be obscure to our American readers. Huevos rancheros is an old classic from Mexico that’s long since made it’s way north of the border. For those of you not in the know, don’t sweat. We’ve got you covered! Literally meaning “Rancher’s Eggs”, huevos rancheros is a savory plate of eggs, tortillas, rice, beans, hot sauce, and everyone’s favorite berry, the avocado. It was traditionally a small meal, great for farm workers after starting work in the morning but before really getting down to it in the afternoon — brunch before brunch was a thing.
Contrary to popular belief (lots of people spend time thinking about egg bhurji, right?), this dish from India and Pakistan is not the same thing as scrambled eggs… but it’s not far off. Think scrambled eggs with flavor — onions, curry, and spicy stuff out the wazoo. It’s great on a plate and better in a pita or some naan. Egg bhurji is especially popular in London, and while it might be a little hard to track down in the US, your best shot is an Indian or Pakistani restaurant with breakfast and brunch hours. An extra tip? If eggs aren’t your style and you’re still reading this (we see you and appreciate your academic interest), paneer bhurji is a common variety that’s every bit as good.
The best sandwiches are the ones you can’t eat with your hands. Though, we suppose you could eat a croque-madame barehanded if you’re some kind of greasy maniac (Yelp is a no-judgement zone). Croque-madame’s an eggy variation on croque-monsieur, everyone’s favorite French snack. Basically: Bread covered in melty gruyère (or just about any other kind of cheese) with ham and more cheese in the middle. Oh, and butter. A lot of butter. It’s French, after all. That’s a croque-monsieur. Slap a fried egg on top and you’ve got a croque-madame. An adorable linguistic sidebar: Croque-monsieur means “Mister Bite” and the madame variety is supposedly so named because the egg looks kinda like a lady’s hat.
Have you scheduled your double bypass yet? Get on that. A Scotch egg is one of the heartiest and most satisfying egg dishes around. It’s a hard-boiled egg inside another egg (of sorts) that’s made of sausage meat. Then the whole thing is breaded and deep fried. They’re everywhere — everywhere! — in the UK, and commonly spotted in gastropubs and Anglophile bars in the US. For the adventurous, there’re a few variations to try: Get it pickled a few different ways, and, depending on how traditional you like it, served with white or black pudding. It’s not the kind of pudding you’re probably thinking of, though — it’s savory and not at all like Jell-O.
Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup is one of those egg dishes you won’t have any problem finding in North America, but if you’ve never given it a shot you’re missing out. It’s a simple soup of chicken stock with eggs broken and beaten right into the soup so that they cook in the broth as little flakes and threads, all of which are delicious. It’s a bracing alternative to chicken noodle soup when you’re fighting off a cold — and we’re confident you can get it delivered right to your door. Whether or not nourishing hot soup will really help you defeat the common cold is a bigger question. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, but it will probably make you feel like you feel better.
Tamagoyaki isn’t just fun to say, it’s a blast to eat. It’s an omelette with layers, so it’s nice and dense and easy-peasy to eat with chopsticks. That’s probably why it’s a popular street food. You’re most likely to cross paths with tamagoyaki at a sushi joint. There, you’ll find it treated like sashimi or standing in for fish. Ask for “tamago”. One interesting detail? Traditionally, chefs serve tamagoyaki at the very at the end of dinner, meaning we’ve made it possible for you to have traditional international egg dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
Now that you’ve got a few leads, you’re probably ready to get out there and break a few eggs. Download the Yelp app or visit Yelp.com to find out where you can sample some eggy classics from far away… right in your own backyard.