A while ago, I wrote about a cooking verb 焼(や)きます/yakimasu. There I said I have to talk about frying eggs, so here it is!

As I said in the previous post, the verb 焼きます(やきます/yakimasu) have many English translations such as to bake, to grill, to pan-fry, to broil, etc, and it can be used with たまご/tamago – eggs as well, but of course, it is hard to bake or grill eggs, so inevitably たまごをやきます/tamago_wo_yakimasu would mean pan-frying eggs. Then, which of the two dishes in the picture would you expect for たまごをやきます?
Although “fried eggs” in English are usually something like the ones shown in the bottom picture, I think most Japanese people will say the top one because that dish is called たまご焼き/tamagoyaki.
たまご焼き is similar to “omelette” but it is usually sweet with sugar (and a dash of soy sauce). They don’t usually beat eggs with a whisk. Instead, they use chopsticks to roughly mix the egg(s) with the seasoning. The mixture before cooking should look a bit mottled to achieve the firm texture.
By the way, I have been writing the egg part of たまご焼き in Hiragana so far. The reason is that there are two ways of writing たまご in Kanji. When I was a child I was taught that cooked eggs are written as 玉子 and raw eggs are 卵 but it seems that differentiation is getting a bit weaker these days. Although there are more hits in Google with 玉子焼き, more and more people write it as 卵焼き. I guess it doesn’t matter that much any more.
Going back to food, there is a savoury version of たまご焼き with a bit of 出汁(だし/dashi) stock added (and no or very little sugar) and that is called だし巻き(だしまき/dashimaki).
The western omelette is called オムレツ in Katakana. オムレツ is not unpopular but オムライス is more popular in Japan. オムライス is a rice dish where fried rice is hidden under オムレツ.

Sunny-side-ups (the bottom picture) are called 目玉焼き(めだまやき) in Japanese. 目玉 actually means an eyeball. When you say that, it doesn’t sound that appetizing, does it? Sorry….

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