As a 30-something male, I am obsessed with dude food! Nothing is more satisfying than sitting down to watch a game with a hot dog, a pulled-pork burger or a bowl of spicy wings, and of course an ice-cold beer or three. I work hard, I exercise a lot and sometimes I feel like I deserve to gorge on things that are not particularly good for me.
Eating calorie-packed burgers and other similar manly delights does come with a bit of guilt for me though. I am conscious of what I put into my body and even more conscious of the fact that what ever I put in must be worked off through exercise.
With this in mind, I set about compiling a list of dude food that is somewhat healthier than the typical fast-food snacks to which we usually associate the term. Living in Australia, we are truly blessed in that we have some of the best quality produce in the world. The quality of our fresh produce is second to none and with the organic revolution in full swing, you know that you are buying the highest quality meat and vegetables around. We also have some of the world’s best cuisines right on our doorstep!
Growing up, my family ate a lot of Asian food (believe it or not, you don’t have to go back too far in the Louie line to find full-blooded Chinese – something I am very proud of!), so my natural affinity is to turn to Asian styles of cooking for comfort and for enjoyment.
For me, dude food has a few essential characteristics:
- It must be able to be eaten quickly and with one hand (having to put down your cutlery before you jump in the air and pump your fist at the TV just doesn’t work)
- It must work well with beer (well…duh!)
- It must not take too long to prepare (hate to miss the kick-off of the game)
- There should be minimal cleaning/ washing up
With these points in mind, I have formulated what I think is the perfect dude food for the modern-day, health conscious man (or dude).
No surprises here for those who have read my posts before. Wontons are my Achilles heel when it comes to food! Sure they take some time to prepare, but the beauty is they can be folded into the tasty little envelopes that can be frozen for up to a month. This means they are just a boiling pot of water away from being ready to be eaten. And of course, they taste so good with cold beer! One tip, ensure you have liberal amounts of dipping soy and Sriracha sauce on hand!
- Chorizo and Chimichurri Dog
Sure chorizo isn’t known for its health benefits but when the weekend rolls around, it is time to unwind and give yourself a break from the gym and the miles of running. The thought of spicy chorizo on a crispy bread roll, topped with caramelised onions and chimichurri, makes my mouth water! When I lived in London, a seller at Borough Markets made these and added fresh rocket to the mix. The added crunch and freshness from the rocket gave it that x-factor to make this version of the hot dog truly great!
- Wings (Asian Style)
The versatility of the chicken wing is incredible. It can be crumbed, fried, baked or cooked in any other way imaginable. For me, nothing compares to the fiery concoction of my Siracha Wings. These little beauties will have your lips burning but the flavour hit means they are too good to stop until the bowl is empty. The marinade is simple and the cooking process is even easier. Combine your preferred amounts of Sriracha sauce, soy and oyster sauce with a dash of fish sauce and a tablespoon of brown sugar and then throw them on a tray and into a piping hot over until they are golden and cooked through. Garnish with sliced shallots and some sesame seeds for crunch.
- Grilled Pork Skewers
Like wontons, these tasty morsels take a little bit of preparation, however you can do the leg work early so you are free to enjoy game day without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. Pork (or any meat for that reason) skewers tick all of my dude food boxes and are a hit with any carnivore. Preferably, you want to grill these over coals as the fat that drips onto the coals will create a delicious smoky flavour.
Perhaps the greatest sandwich on the face of the planet – controversial I know, so hit me with your rebuttals. I recently made my own pickled carrots and radishes for the purpose of making Bahn-mi for my family. I prefer the BBQ pork version (I purchase the meat from my local Chinese restaurant), piled with pickled vegetables, fresh chili, coriander, spring onions and a fish sauce concoction all packed into a light Vietnamese bread roll – yum!
If you, like me, are conscious of your health but love so sit down, or stand at a bar, and enjoy dude food then I suggest giving one of these alternatives a go. Your waistline will thank you for it and if you are entertaining, the boys (or a special lady) will be more than impressed with your gastronomical-skills!
For more food ideas, chit-chat and photos, be sure to check out the :: Lifestyle (Clean Living & All Things Food) :: page.