When you think of eggs, the first image that may pop into your mind is a stereotypical “American” breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes. However, the eggs I grew up eating did not fit this mold, and I often found myself craving these Asian-styled egg dishes reminiscent of home. 

Living in a student cooperative, I don’t come across protein often because of the dietary preferences of those living here. Instead, I have to rely on eggs as an inexpensive and efficient way to get my daily source of protein in. After a while, though, scrambled or plain boiled eggs can get tiring. For students who are short on time and want a simple but fulfilling meal, here are five easy Asian-style egg dishes from my childhood that anyone could make.

1. Fried Egg and Soy Sauce

As my go-to for breakfast, this dish is simple but divine. Simply add a generous amount of your favorite oil to a pan, wait for the oil to get hot, and then crack eggs directly into the pan. For a nice crunch and runny yolk, let the egg fry for a while without flipping until you get a crispy bottom, and then serve with freshly ground black pepper on top.

Personally, I enjoy eating my fried eggs with soy sauce and a warm baguette slice. I grew up eating it this way when my mom would surprise us on weekend mornings with a plate of freshly fried eggs and a smile on her face. The best way to eat this is by dipping the baguette into the runny yolk mixed with the soy sauce. Alternatively, I also recommend eating this with rice and adding soy sauce and sesame oil.

#SpoonTip: If you like a little spice, feel free to add some chili oil or garlic and lime juice to the soy sauce

2. Vietnamese Twist on an Omelette

My mom made this whenever she was short on time or too tired from work to prepare a more complicated meal. This omelette was my favorite dish to eat growing up, and out of the five Asian-styled egg recipes on this list, the one that reminds me most of home.

To make, crack eggs into a bowl and mix slightly. Add pepper, a dash of fish sauce (or soy sauce), green onions, and diced shallots. If readily available, adding some already stir-fried ingredients, such as chopped shrimp, minced pork, or tomatoes, can enhance the dish.

Heat up your pan to medium heat and add a little bit of oil, making sure it evenly coats the pan. Then pour your egg mixture in. Make sure to create “holes” that the uncooked egg mixture can flow into as you’re cooking to avoid overcooking the bottom. Once cooked, fold the omelette in half and serve it with some warm rice.

#SpoonTip: Avoid over-mixing the eggs, as you do not want them to be too fluffy

3. Egg Spring Rolls

This may seem strange, but I assure you that this was one of my childhood staples growing up. Our family ate spring rolls weekly, and oftentimes, we didn’t have the time or ingredients to make “fancier” ones, thus relying on whatever was in our refrigerator.

Make a simple egg omelette using just eggs and salt, and cut it into slices. Then add them to your spring roll along with your choice of lettuce and herbs. If you want to add more protein to the dish, some fried tofu, Vietnamese ham, or sausage slices pair well with the eggs in the spring roll. To elevate it even further, a vegetable stir-fry tastes amazing with eggs—we typically use jicama, carrots, and mushrooms.

#SpoonTip: Sauces determine the quality of a spring roll. I highly recommend making a simple Thai peanut sauce to go with an egg spring roll. If you’re eating this with meat or Vietnamese ham, then fish sauce is the way to go

4. Boiled Egg and Rice

This is probably the simplest Asian-styled egg dish on the list here but is arguably just as good as the rest. Like the others on this list, I have been eating this dish my entire life, especially when my parents couldn’t find the time to cook. Despite its simplicity, I treasure it immensely.

Simply boil the eggs, peel, and then cut in half. If you want the yolk to be slightly runny, then I recommend boiling it for about 7-8 minutes. Fill a small bowl with a generous amount of soy sauce, and then place your eggs in. 

The dish goes perfectly with some fresh rice and your choice of steamed vegetables to dip in the soy sauce: I usually steam broccoli, zucchini, or cabbage. It’s simple, healthy, and delicious—a perfect dish to make for lunch or dinner if short on time. A refined version of this dish would be soy-sauce marinated eggs if you have more time on your hands.

#SpoonTip: I find that placing the eggs in ice-cold water before peeling makes the process much easier.

5. Egg Fried Rice

When you see the words “Asian” and “eggs” together, you may immediately think of egg fried rice. It requires very few ingredients but is absolutely delightful. I know because I often packed this for lunch throughout middle school and high school. Here is the recipe my mom uses to make us her beautiful fried rice:

Add oil and some minced garlic to the pan, then fry until slightly brown. Next, the rice goes in. Break up the rice, tossing and stirring as you go. Add soy sauce, a pinch of salt, and pepper and mix until the rice is evenly coated in the soy sauce and the individual grains are loose and separated.

Now, make a hole in the middle of the rice and add in your eggs. Scramble the eggs within the well that you made, and when it is almost cooked, mix your rice and eggs together. Keep stirring until everything is well-combined and there are no large lumps, and you’re done. Of course, there are many ways to upgrade this dish, but for simplicity, this is good as well. For instance, my mom likes to add green peas, carrot, shrimp, and sausage to her egg fried rice.

#SpoonTip: Add some green onions or scallions for some extra texture and flavor.

These recipes are by no means the “correct” way to make these dishes. They are just ideas for simple and time-saving meals with protein, so feel free to implement your own flavors and ingredients. These Asian-styled egg dishes are perfect if you’re avoiding too many leftovers or if you don’t have a large fridge to store much food. I hope these five recipes could be of help to you, just like how they’ve provided comfort to me throughout my life and now, as well, in my journey of surviving as a college student.