You Really Should Eat This: Egg Foo Young Luo's Peking House

I’ve written previously about egg foo young at Luo’s Peking House. I really like the stuff, though it’s one of those American-Chinese dishes that takes heat for American-Chinese and thus not “authentic.”

Claims of “authenticity” can be one of the laziest and most uniformed ways of talking about food. The authenticity conversation is worth having, of course, especially with people who know what they’re talking about. So often though, claiming authenticity seems a way of sanctioning a food without really talking about how tasty it is, what makes it so good, or what, finally, it is.

Authenticity is an extraordinarily slippery concept. Many associate an “authentic” version of a food with the preparation of the food that they grew up with. Thus, people in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Chicago argue about what, exactly, an authentic pizza is.

When it comes to the alleged authenticity of food from other countries, the conversation is equally if not more confusing. The degree of a food’s authenticity varies by the birthplace of the chef, available resources, and local tastes. What passes for authentic Mexican food in Mexico is going to be different than what passes for authentic Mexican food in New Mexico or Cincinnati or Chicago. And how do you determine authenticity? By the first documented recipe for dish? By the way a specific dish is prepared in a specific location or the way it’s prepared by the most people? It’s complicated.

Anyway, for the egg foo young at Luo’s, I prefer a drizzle of hot mustard and sweet-sour sauce, which hits a lot of different flavor receptors and is delicious as is…or when turned into a St. Paul Sandwich.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...

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