(typically in a frying pan or on a griddle). Fried eggs are typically a breakfast food in English-speaking countries, but may be eaten at other times of the day or not at all in other cultures.
UK and Ireland
Fried eggs are sometimes served on toast, or in a sandwich, often with bacon, sausages,or a variety of condiments. It is also an essential part of the Full English/Irish Breakfast commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland. Fried eggs are often served with ham or gammon steak as a popular pub grub meal. They are almost always cooked "sunny side up", though the term is not used locally. The main difference being that the egg is cooked on a slower heat and hot fat is splashed onto the top of the egg during cooking. This results in a more custard-like yolk with a cooked surface.
North Americans use many different terms to describe fried eggs, including:
- A style known simply as 'fried' — eggs are fried on both sides with the yolks broken until set or hard.
- 'Over well' — cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified.
- 'Over hard', also called 'hard' — cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified.
- 'Over medium' — cooked on both sides; the yolk is of medium consistency and the egg white is thoroughly cooked.
- 'Over easy', also called 'runny' — cooked on both sides; the yolk is a thin liquid, while the egg white is partially cooked. "Over easy" fried eggs are also commonly referred to as dippy eggs or dip eggs by Marylanders and by Pennsylvania Dutch persons living in southern Pennsylvania, mainly due to the practice of dipping toast into the yolk while eating. Also called treasure eggs in southwestern Pennsylvania.
- 'Sunny side up' — cooked only on one side; yolk is liquid (the oil or fat may be used to baste the sunny side, however.) The egg white is often still rather runny as well. This is often known simply as 'eggs up'. Covering the frying pan with a lid during cooking allows for a less "runny" egg, and is an alternate method to flipping for cooking an egg over easy (this is occasionally called 'sunny side down').
Spain and Latin America
A single sunny-side-up egg served over white rice is a popular side-dish eaten at lunch time in some Latin American countries. In Spain, it is served with tomato sauce and called Arroz a la Cubana.
In Brazil, a runny egg placed over a steak with a side dish of rice and black beans is called a bife à cavalo, literally "horse-riding steak". A similar dish, with the name bife a caballo in Spanish, is also common in Argentina and Uruguay with fried potatoes and salad replacing the beans and rice. In Mexico, a popular breakfast starts with fried eggs and a fresh tomato, onion and cilantro salad. Red chile is optional, or a blender style sauce.
Russia, Belarus, Ukraine
The Russian version of fried eggs is called yaichnitsa (Russian: яичница), (Belarusian: яечня). Multiple eggs are cracked into a saucepan or frying pan and cooked without flipping. The whites flow together and individual portions (one or more yolks surrounded by white) are divided up after the whole pan-full has cooked.
Fried eggs are served atop the croque-madame (distinguishing it from the croque-monsieur), and also sometimes on other foods such as pizza and steak haché, in which case it is referred to as œuf à cheval (literally "egg on horseback").
In India, fried eggs are sometimes known as omelette or bullseyes, as a reference to "bullseye" targets. They are commonly served alone or as accompaniment to a variety of dishes including appam, dosa, or paratha. Bullseyes are commonly prepared over pans smeared with a variety of oils such as coconut oil and palm oil. During or after the frying stage, they are sometimes sprinkled lightly with condiments such as black pepper, chili powder, green chilis and salt. Bullseyes are a common street vendor dish in South India. Some restaurants also refer to them as "egg fry" (over hard) or "egg half fry" (sunny side up).
The Chinese fry the egg on both sides, often lightly salted. It is called "lotus-wrapped egg" (荷包蛋; Pinying: he bao dan; and is served as a main course in a light lunch or dinner.
Fried eggs are a popular breakfast item in Japan. It is often called 目玉焼き (medamayaki), literally 'fried eyeball', because of its supposed resemblance to the eyeball of a fried, whole fish. It is usually seasoned at the table with soy sauce or "sosu" (fruity Japanese Worcestershire sauce), depending on the preference of the diner.
In Korea it is common to put a fried egg on top of a dish known as bibimbap (mountain vegetables over rice, usually with a spicy pepper sauce). However, it is more common to see fried eggs as a side dish with rice.
Nasi goreng, one of the most popular dishes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is often served with a fried egg. A fried egg served over white rice, topped with a dab of oyster or hoisin sauce, is also popular in east Asia. Fried eggs are also sometimes used in a Vietnamese breakfast roll.
In the Philippines, fried eggs are often cooked like a sunny side egg but the yolk is half cooked by sprinkling it with salt and oil while being fried, giving it a distinctive pink-colored membrane. It is served in the morning with garlic rice and a choice of breakfast meat such as beef tapa, longaniza, fried milkfish, dried fish, tocino (caramelised pork), Spam, or corned beef. In addition, fried eggs are eaten in a dish called arroz a la Cubana, seasoned ground beef with raisins, cubed potatoes, tomato sauce, and olives, along with white rice and fried ripe plantains.
Other fried egg methods
The 1918 Fannie Farmer cookbook says that fried eggs should be cooked on one side and then have molten fat spooned over the tops. An egg cooked this way is sometimes called a "basted" egg, but that can also refer to adding a small amount of water and covering the pan, in order to steam the top side.
'Sunny side up' eggs have experienced a decline in popularity as fears of salmonella poisoning have become more prevalent. Some restaurants have added legal disclaimers to their menus, warning against eating undercooked eggs. (In some parts of the United States, such as Michigan, this disclaimer is required to be present for all restaurants serving eggs.)