If you’re familiar with pig ears, then pig ear fries are exactly what you envision them to be: pig ears cut into strips, fried, and coated with salt.
It was certainly a dish that we hadn’t seen anywhere else, so my husband and I decided to try it. The menu simply describes it as Pig Ear Fries with Korean hot mustard nouc cham. (Nouc cham is a Vietnamese phrase for dipping sauce.)
I first tried a fry by itself and it tasted super salty, which is probably because I had a piece that was completely coated in salt. But then I dipped the fry into the sauce, and I was hooked. The sauce is a combination of fish sauce, pepper flakes, and Korean mustard. It originally didn’t sound appealing to me since I’m not a fan of mustard, but the sauce added a zing and a good spicy kick to cut the salt of the pig ear fries. The sauce was quite enjoyable – not overwhelmingly spicy or mustardy at all like I thought it would be.
What does pig ear itself taste like? That’s hard to describe, and it also depends on how it’s prepared. Pig ear has a mild porky flavor similar to chicharron or pork rinds. This pig ear had a crispy texture similar to fried tortilla strips, probably due to the thin cut and frying.
You’ll have to try these fries for yourself at FuseBox in Oakland — they are delicious!
2311A Magnolia St
Oakland, CA 94607