aka: Everything Is Better Deep Fried
"Americans love to eat. They are fatally attracted to the slow-death of fast food. Hot dogs, corn dogs, triple bacon cheeseburgers, deep-fried butter dipped in pork fat and cheese-whiz, mayonnaise-soaked barbecue, mozzarella patty melts. Americans will eat anything. Anything. ANYTHING. Shit, if you were selling fried raccoons assholes on a stick, Americans would buy them and eat them! Especially if you were to dip them in butter and put a little salsa on them!
In the practice of deep-frying, your item of choice is submerged in hot oil or fat, where it cooks extremely quickly and gains a crispy, very tasty exterior. Soaking things in boiling-hot fat can make anything
delicious. A common practice is to take something already delicious, loaded with fat and sugar, and deep-fry it FOR EXTRA FLAVOR
. When this trope is pushed to absurd levels, it is always Played for Laughs
In Real Life
, deep-frying is popular in America (particularly in the Deep South
), Scotland, and parts of Asia. A possible reason for its success is because deep-frying is so much faster
than other methods of cooking. Once the oil is hot enough, the food cooks in minutes. This is particularly good in hot climates (like the American South and the parts of Asia, like Guangdong Province in China, where it is widespread), because when it's hot outside and there's no air conditioning, you want to stay out of the hot kitchen as much as possible. And since the heat makes a seal in the outer layer of the food, the inside is not as greasy as one might expect (if it is, someone did something wrong), as opposed to pan frying. Indeed, properly deep-fried food is actually steamed
on the inside, as the high temperature causes the water present in most food to vaporize; the pressure generated from the steam combined with the fact that fat and water repel each other ensures that the fat only penetrates the outermost layer if you've done things right.note
Note, however, that batter will almost always absorb the fat; if you do things properly, though, whatever it is you've battered still won't absorb the fat, which is why properly-made fried chicken isn't greasy on the inside.
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- A parody: Jones' Good Ass BBQ and Foot Massage - "We'll fry anything you want for $5.99. And those that's friable or edible, we gonna make it deliciounable! We will fry parts of the chicken you didn't even know where friable! The beak! The feathers! We'll fry candy bars! And all that European stuff you don't normally eat (french bread, french fries, french onion dip), you can bring it down and we'll fry it for you!"
- Watchmen: In prison, Rorschach uses hot frying oil as a weapon in the cafeteria. He burns the other guy badly enough to kill him.
- In I Shall Wear Midnight, both Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle themselves list one of their good points as the invention of the deep-fried stoat. Although the Feegles acknowledge that it's mostly a good point because it saved some other poor devil from inventing it. It's still probably better than a non-deep-fried stoat.
Live Action TV
- On a Christmas episode of Men Behaving Badly, Tony gets given a deep-fat fryer for Christmas. Over the course of the episode he deep-fries an array of unlikely foodstuffs, culminating in him deep-frying the telephone.
- Arrested Development featured the Cornballer, one of the Bluth family's more unfortunate business ventures. A deep-fat fryer for making fried corn balls in the home, it was discontinued in the US because the device was scalding hot to the touch. It was still being sold in Mexico, where angry citizens imprisoned an escaped George Sr. after recognizing him from the infomercial for it.
- Used brilliantly on Gilmore Girls in the episode with four Thanksgivings. Sookie's husband Jackson deep-fried the turkey, then got drunk and began deep frying other things. As Sookie, a genius master chef, got drunker and drunker in order to cope, she lamented that the only reason the mattresses were intact was that they wouldn't fit, a yell was heard in the background of: 'Deep-fried Shoe!' At which point she buried her face in her hands. She eventually holds up her margarita glass in a resigned toast.
- In an episode of Farscape, Crichton doesn't even have the standard food cubes to eat, and so he decides to fry the little creatures that are used for brushing teeth. When told they aren't edible, Crichton says "You can eat anything if it's fried!" Unfortunately for him, he's wrong.
- During one MythBusters test, Grant announced that he would eat his multitool pouch if anything went wrong with his R/C rig. You can guess what happened. We don't get to see Grant chowing down, but he does announce that he gets to pick the recipe, and he's thinking deep fried with powdered sugar.
- Kenan & Kel: In one episode, Kenan and Kel are asked by a girl Kenan likes to hold on to her shirt that her grandmother knitted for her before she died. Three guesses as to what happens next. The deep-frying only happens in the end. There were other mishaps.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- Naturally, Good Eats has done several episodes on the subject of frying. In the first dedicated episode, Fry Hard, Alton makes fish and chips in an attempt to silence his busybody sister Marsha, who is (at the moment) on an anti-fat crusade, by pointing out that frying is only unhealthy if you do it wrong.
- Paula Deen's many cooking shows involve extremes of deep fried food. Among the most egregious examples was an actual cheesecake wrapped in wonton dough and given the deep fry treatment.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Eleventh Hour", the newly-regenerated Eleventh Doctor finds almost everything in young Amelia Pond's fridge revolting to his new taste buds. He retorts to her "You're Scottish! Fry something!"
- In a MADtv parody of Aaron Spelling Action Girl shows, a trio of fast-food workers find a bomb in their restaurant. So one of the girls dunks the bomb in batter and deep-fries it, and it explodes harmlessly within the breading shell. The audience cheers.
- Castle: Castle sleeps with his first ex-wife when she rolls into town for a short time. He compares it to the guilty pleasure of a "deep fried Twinkie".
- The Big Bang Theory pokes fun at Texas's obsession with fried meat and American Football:
Howard: Sheldon knows football?
I mean, Quidditch
, sure. But football?
Leonard: Sheldon, how do you know this stuff?
Sheldon: I grew up in Texas.
Football is ubiquitous in Texas. Pro football, college football, high school football, peewee football - in fact, every form of football except the original, European football
, which most Texans believe to be a Commie plot.
Sheldon: If you’re interested, I also know all about frying meat that isn’t chicken as if it were chicken.
Leonard: So you could teach me?
Sheldon: Football or chicken-fried meats?
- Osamu Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito has a character who is a sideshow freak, 'the human tempura'. She covers herself in batter and is deep-fried, then with split-second timing is brought out again and bursts through the dough, alive. Her training was hell and normal circuses won't take her because her act is too depraved. She ultimately tragically dies doing this with an improvised spoon to make money. Apparently she didn't realize that her basic tumbling talents were much safer and easier and just as likely to net some dough performing on the street.
- Tempura is an even deadlier weapon in Ichi the Killer.
- The eponymous feline in Garfield certainly embodies this. In fact, one of his slogans is "If it ain't deep-fried, it ain't worth eating".
- A fried variant occurs in this Baby Blues strip.
- George Carlin's disgust with Fat America, as seen in the Trope quote above.
- The 3rd episode of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, "Muzzled!", features a deep-frying machine. Sadly, Gromit won't put anything in there besides a puzzle-solving item.
- Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Selan's deep-fried jelly in olive oil.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising introduces the Tempura Wizard enemy who can turn Pit into fried shrimp that it can eat for a One-Hit Kill. The Tempura Bomb in the game's multiplayer matches have the same effect.
- Shizune of Katawa Shoujo supports this trope.
[Fried things are always delicious. There is always an exception for them.]
- In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, one of the food items that the Flotsam Island Ladies' Night Buffet Table will include, according to W.P. Grindstump, is the "Deep-Fried Petit Fours".note
- Heart Attack on a Plate.Note
- Epic Meal Time deepfries a lot of things in beer batter.
- Webrestaurantstore.com, which usually offers rather reasonable how-to cooking videos has one featuring the host attempting to deep-fry gnocchi. It does not go well. Inspired by the video, other cooks tried it, and as it turns out, it can be done, but you have to boil the gnocchi first.
- A yearly trek for Team Snob is the Illinois State Fair, where they do an episode of "Brad Tries" featuring whatever happens to look good (or bad) and includes several fried dishes. Examples of which are deep fried shark (bland, not sharky), a deep fried pickle w/ 1000 island shiracha inside (gross), and deep fried cookie dough topped with powdered sugar (heavenly).
- American Dad!:
- In one episode, the Smiths own a deep fryer and have a conversation at the beginning of the episode about how good the food they cook with it is. Then Francine drops her ink pen in the fryer, takes a bite out of it and remarks that "it even makes this pen taste good".
- Francine developed something of an obsession with frying stuff in that episode to the point that she appeared borderline insane. She was planning on deep frying a live chick, and later she takes Steve's new bunny right out of his hands and cheerily declares that "I'm gonna pop you right in the fryer!"
- The Simpsons:
- When Moe's becomes a family-friendly TGI Friday's-type restaurant in "Bart Sells His Soul", he purchases a deep-fryer which deep fries everything, including champagne bottles.
Moe: The deep fryer's here. Heh heh, I got it used from the navy. You can flash-fry a buffalo in forty seconds.
Homer: Forty seconds? But I want it now!
- In another episode, Homer ordered from a fast food drive-thru and got everything deep fried - including the bag And a Diet Coke.
- Homer deep-fries his shirt in one episode. Even clothing's better deep fried!
Homer: And you said they couldn't deep-fry my shirt!
Marge: I didn't say they couldn't, I said you shouldn't.
- In The Replacements, when Todd and Riely run off and join the carnival, Riely ends up running the deep fry anything stands. The things she gets handed to deep fry includes roadkill and a football.
- In the King of the Hill episode "Mutual of Omabwah", Bill and Boomhauer get a deep fryer, and use it on lots of things, including an already deep-fried chicken leg.
Bill: If everyone deep-fried their food, there would be no war.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show had a cartoon about "Billy the Beef Tallow Boy," who deep-fried everything that was brought before him, even inedible objects like a car and a pair of shoes.
- Rocket Power touches on it. When the Stimpletons are asked to temporarily watch the Shore Shack, Merv at first objects, until Violet says "Let's play with the deep fat fryer" and he is quieted down.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- "Squeaky Boots": When Spongebob's new squeaky boots began to drive Mr. Krabs crazy, he steals them, dumps them in frying oil, and eats them in a bout of insanity.
- One episode features an escalating grease-war between Krabs and Plankton.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force: During a barbecue, Shake and Carl deep-fry an entire cow injected with cheese in its udders and force fed it bacon and ranch dressing before it died. They then dump the hundreds of gallons of grease in the forest, provoking the wrath of the trees inside of it.
- In South Park, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman sit down to eat KFC, but as soon as the others turn their backs, Cartman gobbles up the skin for himself. The others complain that the fried skin is the best part. Kenny even starts crying.
- Beavis and Butt-Head have placed bugs and other small animals into Burger World's deep fryer and served them to the customers.
- French fries. They taste better deep-fried.
- Heck, fried potatoes in general.
- YMMV - Some people can bake fries that turn out well, but really, it's much easier to just deep fry them.
- Fried ice cream. For those wondering how it's possible: first you bread a ball of ice cream, and then there's two ways to fry it. There's the "fry it very quickly" method or the "freeze rock-solid, then fry almost as quickly" method. Generally not recommended for the inexperienced chef.
- 25 foods you didn't know could be deep fried! Includes chocolate chip cookie dough, pop tarts, and the cheeseburger in the picture above.
- The website This is Why You're Fat (examples include: Double Bypass Burger - burger topped with five slices of bacon, four slices of cheese, two fried eggs, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion between two buns made up of two grilled-cheese sandwhiches, deep fried ravioli, and deep fried corn flake twinkies). So good yet soooooo bad!
- Deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving! Profoundly dangerous, but incredibly good. Alton Brown once built a derrick to make the entire procedure somewhat safe. It's not that dangerous if you cook it outside, follow all the safety tips (Alton Brown's method may seem extreme, but it isn't that much work considering what that oil can do), and keep a fire extinguisher on hand. And unlike most of the examples here, Fried Turkey is as healthy as it is delicious (it's not battered, so little to no grease is absorbed during cooking)! William Shatner and State Farm presents a PSA on safe turkey frying (protip: if you take away nothing else, remember to fry outside and well away from flammable things like trees and houses, thaw the turkey thoroughly before frying, and be very careful lowering the turkey into the oil).
- Scotland brings us the fried Mars Bar as well as deep-fried pizza. Scotland also has fast food venues which offer to deep fry anything you want.
- Deep-fried Coca-cola?
- Among the offerings at the 2011 California State Fair: deep-fried KoolAid.
- The Deep South is (in)famous for its use of fried foods, ranging from international popularity (Kentucky Fried Chicken) to the obscure (okra, green tomatoes). Deep frying is a quick and effective means to cook food, and coupled with the warm climate, saved preparation time in an infernally hot kitchen. In the South, it is not preferable to slave over a hot oven or stove, since it is consistently hot for most of the year. Thus, faster methods of cooking, including frying, are more often practiced.
- County fairs are good places to find fried foods, and often they will have something different every year, such as deep-fried snickers bars or pickles. From Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, describing the advantages of vacationing in the US:
"Often there will be local fairs and festivals, where the kids can ride on the Whirl-'n'-Puke while Mom and Dad enjoy tasty local cuisine such as French fried potatoes, fried chicken, fried onion rings, fried dough, and fried frying oil fried with fried sugar."
- Fried dough is basically funnel cake without the funnel. A slight difference, but a difference nonetheless, and some individuals in New England will proceed to Gannon Ban you if you mistake their fried dough for funnel cake or vice versa.
- Deep-fried Mars bar was a joke item that gained popularity. Similarly, there are deep-fried Twinkies or deep fried Oreos.
- Chimichangas, i.e. deep fried burritos.
- To add insult to an injury, Chicken Kiev. If you discount the chicken, it's basically a deep-fried butter. With herbs, though. Everything's healthier with herbs.
- Did someone say Deep-Fried Butter?
- South East Asians are very familiar with fried bananas as a snack item. Fried bananas are sometimes found in Brazilian restaurants, too, and are a common sight in Caribbean cuisine, as well.
- A variety of countries in Latin America have fried plantain. Of course, the plantain when used for this is starchy rather than sweet, so it makes a kind of sense: although biologically a type of banana, culinarily it's more like a potato that happens to grow on a tree.
- Platanos deep fried with sour cream and refried beans is one of the more bizarre - not to mention delicious - aspects of Central American cuisine.
- This is not just an American trope — in Taiwan they have little carts called xiansuji, which offer a variety of items to be deep fried, including bread, pork blood, chicken feet, and corn dogs, not to mention more regular fare such as chicken, hot dogs, green beans, etc.
- Tempura makes EVERYTHING delicious. For those unable to track down authentic tempura flour, instant pancake mix makes for a decent enough substitute.
- A restaurant in Brooklyn owned by a Brit called the Chip Shop will fry up anything you want. The menu includes deep-fried pizza.
- The panzarotti, which is essentially a deep-fried calzone, and a perennial favorite in South Jersey.
- Nearly every culture has some variant of deep fried fat as a way to make use of the stuff they'd usually throw away. The American South is the one of the few places where people who don't have to eat the stuff still do.
- Cracklins are a delicacy in southern Louisiana made from deep-fried, highly seasoned cubes of pork belly with the rind. Yup, it's bacon, Cajun style!
- In Eastern and Central Europe the lard is usually rendered not by boiling, but by frying the fat in question, after which the resulted cracklings (called "shkvarky" or variations thereof in most Slavic languages), seasoned with salt and pepper, are a common garnish and flavoring in most savory dishes. In Russia, Ukraine and Belarus the pork shkvarky are preferred, while Czechs love their goose ones.
- Indian Fry Bread. Essentially a flat, plate sized donut. It can be served as a dinner with chili or stew on top, or a dessert with powdered sugar and/or honey. Mexican Sopapilla is similar, but puffy so you put the topping on the inside. Outside the American Southwest, this is known as an elephant ear.
- In several Canadian reserves you can encounter fried bannock (a flat bread similar to scones that's made primarily of lard), Bannock Pops (bannock stuffed with seasoned ground beef and sometimes potatoes and deep fried), and hound dogs (hot dogs wrapped in bannock and deep fried). All of these are delicious and they're all created by people who have some of the worst rates of diabetes and heart disease in the world.
- On the Cooking Network program "David Rocco's La Dolce Vita", David Rocco explains that a common Italian snack is a "fried pizza" which involves taking individual-sized portions of pizza dough and frying them in a skillet until they're crispy, sauteeing a tomato sauce (with garlic and basil) in a separate skillet, then topping the fried pizza dough with the tomato sauce and some parmesan. He also made a sweet variant where the fried pizza dough is topped with honey.
- This trope is popular in Scotland, which makes sense (the Deep South's obsession with frying everything comes from the Scottish origins of many if not most ancestral Southerners).
- Deep Fried BEER. Even better: It's Guinness! Unquestionably this is humankind's Moment Of Awesome.
- The restaurant chain Tijuana Flats carries cookie dough flautas: tortillas filled with cookie dough, fried, topped with powdered sugar, and served with chocolate syrup for dipping.
- A restaurant in Memphis called Dyer's brings us the deep fried burger, where they deep fried their burger patties in the same grease they have been using for 100 years.
- In the epitome of cool, Scotch Eggs. Take a hard boiled egg, wrap it in sausage, bread it, then deep fry the thing. Traditionally, a scotch egg is soft-boiled (aka coddled) instead, which provides a better mix of textures (crunchy coating, meaty sausage, chewy albumen, creamy yolk): for a modern take on how to do this, "culinary Mad Scientist" Heston Blumenthal delivers. The best part, though, is that pretty much any egg can be coddled... while the lunatic hasn't yet been found that would try this with a Cadbury Creme Egg, it's really only a matter of time.
- A classic that combines this with Blessed Are the Cheesemakers, Satiating Sandwich, and Bacon Addiction is the Monte Cristo. There are a few different preparations, but in general, it involves a sandwich piled with turkey, bacon, and Swiss cheese, dipped in batter, then deep-fried. To serve, top it with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and some jam or preserves. There are variations on the theme (including only batter-dipping/frying the bread, using ham instead of bacon, various types of cheese, not to mention the specific topping), but all of them combine some variety of the three previously mentioned tropes with this one as well as being tremendously unhealthy. Naturally, The King loved these.
- Natto is a famously Japanese dish consisting of partially fermented soybeans, which even many Japanese dislike strongly. If you claim to dislike it, proponents will suggest you try it deep fried; when fried it loses its potentially offensive texture but retains its cheesy flavor and nutritious properties.
- Deep fried waffles. With butter and maple syrup just like you'd have if it they weren't fried. They are delicious.
- Deep fried cheesecake, which may or may not be coated in chocolate and come with whip cream.
- In a probable aversion, a woman reported finding a fried chicken head in a box of McDonald's wings. But hey, if you're gonna eat a chicken head at all, it may as well be a deep-fried one.
- Deep-fried vegetables. Zuchinni, broccoli, summer squash, cauliflower, onions, whatever. Battered, deep-fried cauliflower is traditional in some parts of the world; these are a popular breakfast and lunch item in Egypt in particular. Deep fried onions are amazing, because they turn crispy and lose the wet crunchiness that usually makes eating onions undesirable; examples that use them are the Indian classic 'Onion Bhaji' and the Swedish hot dog topping 'Rostad Lök'.
- Speaking of Egypt... In the Middle East, the Egyptians are noted for their penchant for frying. Falafel—which is of course deep-fried ground legume pattiesnote —is probably the invention of Egyptian Christians in late antiquity trying to find a good and tasty source of protein during Lent, when the unique fasting rules of their church required them to be vegan. Deep-fried onions are also a critical ingredient in the Egyptian national dish kushari (incidentally also vegan and thus acceptable for Lenten eating). Deep-fried fish and deep-fried battered balls of ground shrimp are also traditional and popular. Egyptians also fry their garlic before using it, to the derision of their neighbors; they are also in the habit of frying liver (not battering it, fortunately), to the derision of the Lebanese (who eat it raw. Good luck with that.). There may be historical and environmental reasons for this mania for frying; the earliest record of frying comes from Egypt, about 2500 BCE, so it's fair to say the Egyptians probably invented Deep Fried Whatever, or at least Fried Whatever; and given that the Nile Valley makes Egypt stupidly humid as well as stupidly hot in the summertime, it's fair to say that the desire to keep cooking times short that drove the American South to frying also apply to Egypt.
- Slightly tongue in cheek (and not food in the first place), but deep fried dollar.◊
- The Ancient Romans used deep-fried canaries as a cure for hangovers.
- Chileans and Argentinians are VERY fond of the Chorrillana: French fries, fried steak strips, fried onions and fried eggs. Excellent pub food, man.
- Several Chilean snacks are fried, too. Sopaipillas, calzones rotos and cheese empanadas, anyone?
- Probably the most famous place to get deep fried food in the United States is the Texas State Fair. Every year, hundreds of food vendors show up, and all they offer is deep fried food. Its a heart attack's dream (and a health nut's nightmare). They even have a special contest to determine the best new deep fried recipes; several of the aforementioned "crazy" deep-fried dishes (e.g. deep-fried butter and fried coke) are products of the competition. Deep fried ice cream? They got it. Deep fried beer? They got that too. Deep fried cotton candy?!!! It really is enough to make a man think nothing cannot be fried.