Kitchen & Pantry

Smiley fries

My daughter Sam has this talent for discovering interesting food that I wouldn’t even give a second glance. When we were at the grocery one time, at Rustan’s Shangri-La, she saw bags of smiley fries in the freezer section and insisted we should buy one bag. I was doubtful — I don’t even like buying branded frozen French fries.

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Then Sam delivered those magic words. “Mommy, it’s bloggable!” Okay, fine, whether the smiley fries were good or tasted like cardboard, they would still make an interesting story. I told her she could pick up a bag.

We went about our shopping when a lady shopper stopped me to ask where we got the back of smiley fries. I pointed her to the freezer section, she said thanks and walked off. And Sam said smilingly, “See?” Meaning, see how attention-grabbing those smiling faces are? Yeah, they sure are. They even look better after frying when they turn from a pale cream to a light golden brown.

But pretty is one thing. How did they taste?

They smiley fries aren’t made from cut potatoes. They’re made with mashed potatoes.

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And, apparently, some starch is thrown in to help them retain their shape during frying. So, the texture is like fried mashed potatoes and starch. Not like real cut potatoes. But not bad at all.

It’s the texture that was surprisingly good. They don’t even need deep frying. Shallow pan frying is fine. Just make sure to flip the smiley fries over once the undersides turn brown and crisp. What you don’t want to do is to microwave them as they turn chewy rather than crispy.

How much did the smiley fries cost? Over 300 pesos, if I remember correctly. But it was a huge bag — so huge that we had to rearrange everything in the freezer. It’s been weeks since we bought them and we still have a container of smiley fries in the freezer. Oh, yes, they keep very well in the freezer.

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