Brighton has long been a hub of healthy eating, with a cosmopolitan variety of restaurants and takeaways, attracting young chefs willing to experiment with fusion foods to make a name for themselves.
Fusion is the melding of two opposing cuisines together, and can be greeted with either joy or derision, depending on the individual palate. There are many lovers of the Hawaiian ham and pineapple pizza in the world, while Mediterranean purists decry it as an abomination. More successfully, English colonialists adapted the local Indian foods to create the classic breakfast of kedgeree.
For the experimental gastronomist, the combination of East and West flavours is the holy grail that can work wonders with wasabi sliders, burger dumplings, noodle pies and breakfast soup. Now, one small Chinese takeaway in Lewes Road, Brighton has been discovered offering a fusion that’s truly not for the faint hearted – the Spam Chow Mein.
Spam is the processed meat substance that takes it’s inventive name from it’s ingredients – spiced pork and ham. It was invented in 1937, and became ubiquitous as part of American soldier’s rations during the Second World War, as well as being useful for greasing guns and machinery. This classic G.I. delicacy still awakens nostalgic affection in many hearts and minds, and over 7 billion cans have been sold worldwide. There is even a Spam museum in Austin, Minnesota, and was famously celebrated in song by the Monty Python group.
Due to it’s versatility, the only surprising thing is that it has taken this long for the product to make it’s appearance in modern mashup cooking. Foodie adventurer Mark Baelish has tasted this exotic confusion. “I saw it on the menu, but I was so drunk I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Then I looked again, and it was still there, then I couldn’t stop imagining what it could taste like it. I’m always willing to try anything once, and I love most foods on the planet, so there was no way I was going to wimp out. We only live once after all. I dived in and ordered, and it was only £2.95 for a large polystyrene box, so at the very least, it’s really great value.”
“That was a week ago. I can still taste it.”