What does "fried egg" mean?

There’s a Spanish/American restaurant across the street from me (it’s sort of a diner that sells traditional Mexican and burgers/fries/eggs/bacon). I go there a lot because it’s cheap and convenient, even though I can cook the American food much better…

So today I ordered fried eggs and bacon to go, which I do ever now and again when I don’t have to work in the morning. Every time I’ve gotten the fried eggs, the yolks have been scrambled. To my understanding, a fried egg should have the yolk liquid and intact or else slightly oozing. So today I decided to go over what I wanted very clearly with the waitress because I didn’t want another hard yolk.

Sure enough, the yolks were scrambled. So I explain this to the server and she directs ME to talk to the CHEF. So I explain again and literally hold up the hard yellow yolk with my fingers. The chef tells me that I’m wrong and I should have ordered them over easy, which he serves not over easy, but fried sunny side up. I explain that over easy should have the whites overturned, and he just turns his back on me. I sit down expecting to get what I wanted, but the waitress says “no” and offers me my money back (while simultaneously taking back the whole plate I ordered of hash brown potatoes and toast). I refuse the money and just ask for my now scrambled eggs back. I stormed out with it and swore not to go back.

Aside from the way they treated an unhappy customer, who should be embarrassed? Me for my lack of culinary knowledge or the cook for calling himself a chef?

What does “fried egg” mean?

To me, “fried egg” means pan fried on both sides until the yolk is solid. I would call what you want “over medium”.

I expect a fried egg to have the yolk cooked solid. If I wanted a loose yolk, I’d order a “fried egg with the yolk runny.”

By scrambled, do you mean that the yolk is cooked solid?

A fried egg could be almost anything. it’s just an egg that’s been cooked by frying, as opposed to say, boiling or poaching. If you want something specific, such as an egg fried sunnyside-up, or an egg fried over-medium, or eggs scrambled dry, or whatever, then ask for it.

And, since you KNOW from prior experience that their “fried egg” comes scrambled, you
A)were silly not to ask for what you really wanted (ETA: point of confusion: what did you say to the waitress about your order?)
B) acted like a lunatic freaking out and storming off when they served you exactly what they’ve served you every other time.

There were two yolks. One had been loosely scrambled when the cook flipped the eggs (there was one big splotch of yellow that I identified as yolk, but the eggs taste like a loose scramble). The other yolk (which I didn’t see in the restaurant because it was underneath the first egg) was mostly covered in whites, but it maintained it’s yolk shape -just not it’s yolky consistency. It was solid, slightly rubbery, and slightly crumbly.

What you describe is what I would call “over well.”

As for “fried egg” I didn’t realize that could be used as a generic term, and I would have assumed it meant “sunny-side up,” but according to Wikipedia:

Well, color me informed. I always assumed “fried” was the generic and any other terms were modifiers. Like “steak” and “rare”, “fried egg, over easy” seems to be correct in my mind, but I guess I’ve been wrong for 60+ years.

The term fried egg is too generic: sunny side up, over easy, and over medium, are all fried eggs. Fried egg just means that the egg isn’t scrambled before cooking. In my experience, not many places outside the US have as many varieties of egg frying; fried eggs are just cooked in a bunch of oil until they are cooked throughout.

Scrambled eggs are beaten then cooked.

Sunny side up eggs are cooked one side, the yolk should be runny.

Over easy eggs are cooked both sides, the yolk should be runny.

Over hard eggs are cooked both sides, the yolk should be firm or nearly so.

Around here (So Cal.) if I ordered fried eggs I would expect to be asked how I wanted them.

What you’re describing is what I’d expect for a fried egg that might end up on a sandwich, such as a burger. For eggs by themselves, I’d expect them to ask you how you want them cooked. I take mine over easy.

I do agree with others that if you knew that’s how they do things, you should have asked for your kind of eggs when you ordered. It was silly to expect your order to come any different than it has in the past.

I do think the cook (not someone I’d give the title ‘chef’) doesn’t know what he’s talking about if he does ‘over easy’ without turning the egg.

Wow. So many definitions of fried egg. All my life a fried egg is an egg that is cooked with the white no longer clear and the yolk lose. Over easy, the yolk is still runny but it is flipped for a second so the white part covers the yolk. Over medium is less runny, over hard is a solid yolk. Fried egg is the same as sunny side up. Here is what wisegeek has to say. What Are the Different Types of Fried Eggs? (with pictures)

Asking for a “Fried egg” is like asking for a “cooked steak”. If you want something specific, you’d better specify. Otherwise you’re going to get whatever the cooks or local standard is. Also, the guy frying your eggs is most likely a cook, not a chef.

It does sound like the cook doesn’t know what “over easy” means, which indicates that he barely qualifies as a cook, much less a chef.

If I asked for a fried egg, I would expect the waitress to ask me how I’d like that. If she didn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised to get anything from sunny side up, to pan-scrambled. If you want something specific, it’s up to you to tell them what that is-- They can’t read your mind.

I thought “scrambled” meant “mixed together,” as in the whites and the yolks have been mixed together before cooking, so how could just the yolks be scrambled?

An egg that has been fried. The term itself does not specify whether or not the yolk has been broken or is runny.

Funny. I had this same thought a couple days ago when I got a burger with an egg on it and the waitress asked me how I’d like the egg. I wasn’t familiar with all the different kinds (if I have eggs alone I prefer scrambled or omelette), so I just said fried. She didn’t question me, and I got the egg exactly how I wanted it, which according to the list pulykamell provided is over well. (And looking at the list again I see that fried does have its own definition which works just as well, so there you go.)

I’m with you. I would never assume that “fried egg” means the yolk is hard.

Whoops, I meant that I didn’t realize that “fried” could be used as a specific term. Now how my brain reached for the exact opposite word I intended, I don’t know.

I think he means the yolk’s been broken - which is often done in short order cooking to distribute the yolk taste across the fried egg and also make the cooked egg flatter and more suitable for putting in a sandwich.

I don’t consider that scrambled. The yolk & white aren’t homogenized; they are still totaly distinct, with the yolk spread out over the white.

So, what do you call one of the ways I like to make my scrambled eggs? I let them set up very slightly in the pan, and scramble them as they cook. In the end, you get something that is scrambled, but not quite homogenous (and, in my opinion, has a better texture than regular scrambled eggs.) I learned this method from my parents. If I want the eggs homogenous, then I opt for an omelet.

I call that pan scrambled.