We love Spam fries! Our first run-in with this indulgent dish was at a Filipino restaurant named Dolly's in Toronto (RIP Dolly's). We ordered them because it sounded strange and didn't know what to expect. We were blown away on the first bite!
1 can Spam ¼ cup potato starch
½ cup chicharrón (pork crackling)
½ cup panko
1 egg, lightly beaten
Splash of oil (grapeseed or canola will do)
Time note: after being coated the spam fries need to be refrigerated for 1 hour.
Note on pork crackling: You can buy pork cracklings at Filipino, Latin American and Portuguese markets. In a pinch you could buy pork rinds at your local grocery store. We use crackling from a porchetta roast. Part of roasting porchetta is the anticipation of the Spam fries in the days to come. There are recipes online on how to make your own crackling using just pork rind (skin), without making a whole roast, but we haven't tried this method. Just check out any of the host of recipes online and go for it.
Note about Panko: We look for panko labeled “extra crispy” but regular panko will do.
Cut the Spam into the shape of french fries - we made about 28 from a can, but if you prefer them thicker, adjust accordingly.
Place potato starch on a plate. Mix the lightly beaten egg with a splash of oil and place on a second plate. On a third plate mix your chicharron and panko.
Dredge the spam fries carefully in potato starch. Then dredge thoroughly in egg, then coat completely with the panko/chicharron mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy pan to about 350F. If you don’t have an oil thermometer e also use the tried and true chopstick dip method to check if the oil is ready. Watch for hot oil bubbles to form at the tip of the chopstick dipped in the oil. If there are bubbles your oil is hot enough to begin frying.
In batches, place the fries in the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels or a rack.
Dipping Sauces: These are delicious on their own but a dipping sauce is a fun addition. A simple Sirracha works very well. We mix together mayo, asian chili oil, throw in a splash of soy and a pinch of garlic (if you make your own garlic powder that will work well). Here are some other options we’ve found online but haven’t made ourselves. :
Booze: This is great drinkin' food. It needs a nice strong drink to cut through the richness. We lean toward Korean soju or Chinese er guo tou.
Fun Spam Facts: While you're enjoying your decadent Spam fries and boozy drink with friends, you can share a few "Fun Spam facts", like:
Why is Spam so popular in many countries in Asia? It's because Spam was a major food group unto itself with American armed forces personnel during the Second World War. In fact, so much Spam was shipped overseas that U.S. personnel routinely distributed tins to local populations, who quickly adapted it to their own dishes like Korean kimchi fried rice with Spam and Budae Jjigae (Army Stew).
How much Spam was shipped overseas during WWII? An astonishing 133 million tins of Spam were shipped to US and Allied military personnel between 1940 - 1945. That's 68,000 tonnes (150,000 lbs) of Spam! That explains the giveaways to locals!
Breakfast awesomeness: We always save some of our Spam fries for the next day. Place the Spam fries on a rack and reheat them gently in the oven. Then enjoy them as Spam fry “soldiers” dipped into the yolk of a soft boiled egg. Because decadence.