Last week, I made a St. Paul sandwich featuring egg foo yung. I'd never heard of the sandwich until I read about the Denver (Western) omelet or sandwich while trying to understand 1970s egg foo yung.
I used a ciabatta type of Italian bread for my first take on the sandwich. The result was good but the rustic chewiness of the bread eclipsed the egg pancakes.
This time, I used old fashioned white bread from Whole Foods. My local grocery store didn’t carry Wonder bread, which would be perfect as its soft sweetness recalls that of white rice, the natural accompaniment to egg foo yung. The white bread I used had more character. It is probably more akin to the original version made by Chinese American cooks to appease the hunger of demanding workers.
Here’s a recipe for the multicultural St. Paul sandwich:
Makes 1 sandwich
1. Lightly toast the bread so that it has a tinge of color but remains soft. In the photo above, I mistakenly over toasted the bread and it was too crisp.
2. Slather on the mayonnaise. Layer on the tomato, pickle, and egg foo yung. Finish with the lettuce. Top with the remaining slice of bread. Cut in half, if you like, or attack the whole sandwich at once.
Use the master banh mi sandwich recipe to make an egg foo yung banh mi. Or, convert the above St. Paul into a banh mi by adding a shot of Maggi seasoning sauce (or regular soy sauce) after putting on the mayonnaise. Then sprinkle on coarsely chopped cilantro. Add some thinly sliced jalapeno chiles and a layer of dill pickle or cucumber slices.
Add the egg foo yung and cover with the other slice of bread. You’re missing the pickled daikon and carrot in the converted version but the sandwich still tastes good. It has the Viet touches.
For the low down on this sandwich, read: Eating Asian in the 1970s: Egg Foo Yung, Omelet Sandwiches, and James Beard