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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 18 January, 2018
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Spice bags have found their way on to the menu at a Washington DC restaurant

Soon they’ll be pretending they don’t even know us.

AS IT TURNS out, you can’t keep something as good as a spice bag secret for long. Dublin’s humble takeaway delicacy has officially gone global.

Reporting on new burger joint Lucky Buns in Washington DC, the Washington City Paper singled out one particular menu item: “A dish borrowed from Ireland known as a ‘spice bag’.”

You haven’t heard wrong. Chef Alex McCoy says his “Dublin buddies” introduced him to the spice bag – as per the paper:

“It’s a legitimate dish, not something we created, but you just don’t see it outside of Dublin,” McCoy says. The city’s robust bar scene fuels a voracious late night food culture, and spice bags have a young cult following.

This makes our ‘voracious late night food culture’ sound far more refined than it is.

A helpful chart breaks down the essential elements of the spice bag for American readers:

  • Fried chicken that’s dredged in a blend of flours plus a dash of Chef McCoy’s hot chicken spice blend (Szechuan peppercorns, Chinese five spice, Thai chili)
  • Stir-fried onions and red peppers
  • Hand-cut chips
  • House made Irish-style curry sauce with a twist – McCoy adds soy and ginger so it tastes a bit like the sauce that typically coats Japanese pork katsu
  • HP Sauce – Britain’s signature brown sauce that you can put on just about anything

Now we’ve never heard of anyone having brown sauce with a spice bag, but… we’re just going to assume some things got lost in translation.

“We tell people to rip the bag open, have fun, get messy,” McCoy told the paper.

We knew it was only a matter of time before our baby grew up and went away, but it still hurts, dammit. It still hurts.

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