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If I ask for eggs, sunny-side-up, they will have yellow barely cooked yolks. At home I avoid this by placing a lid and creating hot air or steam that cooks the top more thoroughly. How do I ask for this style at a restaurant? What term do I use?

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    Does this answer your question? What would you call this way of cooking an egg?
    – Sneftel
    Apr 10 at 21:03
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    Yes, but it is probably not worth it to say "sunny-side-up, well-done/basted" lest there be confusion, and settle for old, reliable "eggs over easy!"
    – Guy
    Apr 10 at 23:54
  • I have asked for them "crispy" to get them overcooked a little the way I like. Apr 11 at 10:57
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As you and others have observed, there is no unambiguous yet precise set of egg vocabulary for you to use here that will be understood generally, especially in countries where it is not common for people to have very specific egg requests in restaurants/cafés/diners/etc.

Instead, I would advise you to politely explain your preference when you order, in much the same way as the title and body of your question: 'I'd like my eggs fried but with the top cooked more thoroughly rather than runny, if that's possible'. The cooks are the food preparation experts here and they know what equipment is available to them, and this avoids linguistic issues or confusing them by demanding a specific method of achieving your goal.

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You can ask for eggs over easy.

This is when the cook flips the egg over once it's ready and allows the yolk to cook a bit on the hot surface of the pan. The phrase is an American one, if I'm not mistaken, but is probably understood anywhere.

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  • Commenting since this question seems to have had additional interest recently: I would be surprised if somewhere that served eggs in the UK understood 'over easy', and I definitely wouldn't assume it. There's no norm of having detailed preferences (beyond 'fried', 'poached' etc.) here.
    – dbmag9
    Nov 25 at 16:45
  • @dbmag9 I guess it depends where in the UK. The little cafe near where I worked in Chertsey understood it fine. I'll admit I didn't try it in Leeds last time I was there. :)
    – Carmi
    Nov 26 at 20:12
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If they have a heat lamp, ask them to hold it beneath the lamp closer than it would be on the counter for half a minute. Use it like a toaster, because that's really only way you can get it cooked to that level of detail. You don't want to cover and baste it, nor can you flip them. You could use a torch but that may overcook them or burn the whites.

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There are two different techniques possible here – obviously, simply frying for a longer time will cook the yolk more thouroghly. You might order this as “sunny-side up, well done”.

However, what you achieve by cooking with a lid isn't really considered just frying, but Basting, so what you want to ask for is probably a basted egg.

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  • Do you have any evidence that this term is in common enough use that the waiter and cook at a typical diner would know what you wanted if you asked for a basted egg?
    – The Photon
    May 11 at 1:14
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    I wouldn't describe the method the OP uses as basting; to me that would imply collecting hot oil in a spoon and pouring or brushing it over the egg as it fried. Putting a lid on as it fries steams it (but you couldn't say that without further elaboration, since just steaming would most naturally be interpreted as a way to make hard-boiled eggs).
    – dbmag9
    May 12 at 11:01

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