The dish known as xihóngshì chao jidàn in Mandarin (faankeh chao dan in Cantonese) doesn't have the deepest roots in Chinese culinary tradition. It didn't come onto the scene until the early 20th century, when Chinese cooks first began incorporating tomatoes into their cooking. But that hasn't stopped this combination of pillowy eggs enrobed in a savory sweet tomato sauce from being one of the country's most beloved dishes. It's so popular, some Chinese food bloggers deem it the country's national dish. It's also an essential comfort food to Chinese immigrants and their families. In an ode to his mother's version in the New York Times, writer Francis Lam describes it as "the kind of dish that people say is the first thing they learned to cook, that fed them when they left home, that inspires sudden and irresistible cravings."
A typical version goes like this: Cook beaten eggs quickly in an oil‑slicked wok until they’re just set. Remove them from the wok and toss in aromatics such as ginger and garlic, along with chopped or sliced tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes soften and release their juice. Return the eggs to the wok, stir everything together, and serve with plenty of steamed rice. It's hard to believe something so simple could be so good, but that's exactly what it is.