Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients in any pantry, so it should come as no surprise that there are countless egg dishes from around the world, each of which highlights a culture’s signature spices and classic cooking techniques. For centuries, chefs from Tokyo to Tehran have been pairing local ingredients with the otherwise simple egg. It seems that nearly every international cuisine has its own version of an omelette, with traditional herbs, vegetables, and meats tossed in. But more often than not, the most memorable international egg recipes go beyond simple pan-frying, instead relying on baking, poaching, steaming, rolling, and even deep-frying. Most of these egg dishes are meant to be eaten at any time of day, not just brunch, which is great news for those among us who would always prefer to eat breakfast for dinner.
Though the recipes might seem simple, each of these international egg dishes highlights some of the most unique flavors each cuisine has to offer and proves that the versatility of the egg is appreciated worldwide. So whether you’re looking for a way to add a unique twist to a lonely hard-boiled egg, or want some serious brunch wanderlust, look no further than these nine egg preparations from around the world.
Shakshuka (Israel / Tunisia)
Shakshuka might look fancy, but this single skillet recipe—complete with poached eggs, tomato sauce, feta, and lots of spices—is surprisingly simple to prepare. Originally from North Africa, these days, shakshuka is a popular brunch dish in Israel, served with pita or bread for maximum sauce intake.
Divorced Eggs (Mexico)
The yolk isn’t separated from the whites in this ominously-named Mexican egg dish. Instead, the “divorced” part of huevos divorciados, or “divorced eggs,” refers to the plating. Two fried eggs are kept apart by a barrier of beans. One egg is doused in a red salsa while the other is coated in salsa verde, turning this divorced dish into a truly complementary pairing.
A proper Spanish tortilla isn’t a flimsy disc of finely ground flour keeping a taco together. It’s a thick, pan-fried omelette with potatoes and onions, though really, there’s no limit to the vegetables or meats you can toss in to spice up the dish. If you’re looking to keep with the Spanish flair though, try adding some chorizo or Serrano ham.
Flipping an omelette without breaking it can be a challenge, but extra care is required when preparing a Japanese tamagoyaki because this delicate omelet, seasoned with soy sauce and sometimes dashi, is made of several sheets of cooked egg layered on top of each other and then tightly rolled. Though often eaten for breakfast, tamagoyaki can also be found in lunchtime bento boxes or with sushi.
You may have come across gyeran-jjim if you’ve ever had Korean barbeque. This light, steamed egg custard with scallions, prepared in a hot pot, is commonly served as a side dish accompanying slabs of beef and pork belly.
Scotch Egg (UK)
Eggs and sausage are a classic British breakfast pairing, and a Scotch egg takes that relationship to the next level by blanketing a hard-boiled egg with sausage and breadcrumbs, then throwing the whole thing in a deep fryer or oven. Their finger-friendly, fried presentation make them ideal pub fare.
A hard-boiled egg doesn’t exactly scream “street food.” But when that hard-boiled egg is battered and deep-fried and served with a tangy vinegar dipping sauce, it transforms from a boring breakfast staple to an on-the-go, anytime snack. Tokneneng is just that, an egg fried in orange batter that hails from the Philippines.
Baghala Ghatogh (Iran)
A northern Iranian speciality, baghala ghatogh is a stew made of fava beans and over-easy eggs, seasoned with dill and saffron. This is another single-pan recipe that’s heavy on the aromatics and served with a crispy rice.
Virgin Boy Eggs (China)
This unique egg preparation, found in only one eastern Chinese city during springtime, is certainly not for the faint of heart. Virgin boy eggs, as they’re called, are hard-boiled eggs that have been soaked and cooked in the urine of young boys. They’ve got a distinctly salty taste and supposedly special health benefits, like better blood circulation, but the jury’s still out on the safety. Best leave this style of egg preparation to the professionals.