How Other Cultures Use Eggs

Eggs are undeniably great – simple to cook, and packed with nutrition. But the chances are, you’re unfamiliar with them beyond a few standard brunch classics and their use in baking. Which is a shame, as eggs – cheap, versatile, and a great source of protein – play an integral role in a huge number of dishes and culture all over the world. Either on their own or used to enhance a dish, every country has their own way of preparing them – the methods are virtually endless. It’s part of why eggs are one of the most popular, widely eaten foods on the planet.

Eggs are perfect for breakfast and brunch – we eat them fried, poached, scrambled, or boiled. And yet we’re only scratching the surface of their early morning potential. Originating in the middle east, shakshuka is the ultimate savoury breakfast, with poached eggs swimming in a red sauce made from tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and a variety of spices. The Mexicans, unsurprisingly, have a spicier version, heuvos rancheros, where corn tortillas are topped with fried eggs, salsa, beans, chilli, and avocado.

The French love their omelettes – as does the US – but so do the Japanese. Tamagoyaki is what they call theirs, a slight sweet version that varies across the country. The most basic is simply layers of cooked egg that have been rolled together, and it’s usually made in a rectangular pan, hence its famed rectangular shape. A soft boiled egg is also a key component of ramen.

Moving beyond breakfast, eggs feature heavily in all manner of snacks and meals. Deviled eggs – which originated in Italy - are a common hors d'oeuvre in many countries, particularly the Nordics. The snack is made by hard-boiling eggs and then filling them with a paste made from egg yolks and additional ingredients like mustard and mayonnaise.

Anyone plagued by hunger pangs in a British pub is sure to have come across Scotch Eggs. These delicious snacks consist of a hard-boiled egg that's wrapped in sausage meat, covered in breadcrumbs, then either fried or baked. In China, you’re likely to encounter Century Eggs, a famed delicacy and one that take time to prepare. Essentially, they’re eggs that have been preserved in a combination of salt, quicklime, clay, rice hulls, and ash for a few days (or even weeks).

The Greeks use eggs for a specialty soup – avgolemono. It’s a is a smooth chicken broth made from whisked eggs, rice, and lemon juice that’s commonly served with shredded chicken. An even more substantial, egg-based dish is found in Ethiopia, and the famous doro wat. A spicy stew made with vegetables and either chicken, lamb, or beef, doro wat is served with hard boiled eggs. It’s similar to India’s egg curry, where the hard boiled eggs come submerged in a flavorful, green chili curry made with various vegetables, onion, and tomato.

Indian’s also love Egg Bhurji, a spicy, filling take on western scrambled egg that’s made with caramelized onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spices.

Pastry, both sweet and savoury, goes amazingly well with egg, so it’s no surprise that there are a number of different dishes around the world that make the most of this delicious combo. Tunisians love tucking into brik, a light, flaky pastry that's stuffed with a whole egg along with tuna, parsley, harissa, and onion and then deep fried. It's finished off with some cheese as a garnish. In Sri Lanka, Egg Hoppers – cooked eggs served in a pancake bowl that's made from rice flour and coconut milk – are a common street food, as is kwek kwek in The Philippines, a stick consisting of battered and fried quail eggs.

And, of course, desserts and sweet treats are no strangers to eggs. The Portuguese go nuts for pastéis de nata, a flaky crust filled with a simple egg custard then baked until brown and blistered, while in Korea you’ll find gyeran jjim, a soft, steamed egg custard typically garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

At Buffalo Market, we carry a great range of organic, free range and pasture-raised eggs, perfect for those looking to experiment in the kitchen and try their hand at more adventurous dishes. Most of the above are simple to prepare, so stick some eggs in your cart today and whip up some new dishes.