This story was originally published on MUNCHIES in February 2016.
A brik is a savory, fried pastry commonly eaten in Tunisia and Algeria. It may also have the power to help you take that next big step in your relationship.
At its most basic, brik is a pastry sheet that is about as thin as phyllo and stuffed with filling—most commonly with a raw egg, canned tuna, a few capers, and maybe a little bit of harissa. It is then crisped up in hot oil, but only long enough to allow the yolk inside to remain runny.
According to the Algerian tradition, if a would-be groom can successfully eat an entire brik without spilling a drop of yolk, then he is officially ready to marry.
In Los Angeles, there are a few restaurants that offer briks, so I decided to test my potential husband skills by seeing if I could neatly eat one. After all, I've been in a relationship for almost five years. What better way to find out if I am ready to call it game over for life than by stuffing my face with runny egg yolks?
Mario Christerna, chef and owner of The Briks, was patient enough to show me how the pastries are made. A brik comes in many shapes, from half moons to rectangular pockets. Christerna taught me how to fold it in a square because his mentor is a French-Born Algerian chef, and that's how he does it.
I embraced a sword-swallower technique and showed the runny egg yolk who was the boss.
The difficulty of frying a paper-thin parcel with a runny egg jiggling around inside of it—all without overcooking it—is like that of properly poaching an egg. After I fucked up the first two attempts, I was finally successful. The secret is to keep the oil temperature lower than you'd set it for deep-frying. "Since you can't see the egg yolk inside, you kind of have to cook with your senses," Christerna said as he coached me in the kitchen.
Nonetheless, making the brik turned out to be way easier than eating it.
I sat down with my girlfriend staring right at me as I attempted to eat the golden brown and delicious packet of joy. It was then that I realized, Fuck, what did I get myself into? Christerna serves his briks with a fork and knife because the restaurant is in downtown LA and the majority of his customers are executives with expensive suits. Seeing that I was just wearing an old New Found Glory shirt and I was there to prove myself to my lady, I went OG and commenced to eat it with my hands.
At first, I tried to eat it like a calzone, but that was a huge failure. I had runny yolk all over my 501s faster than I could clean the egg from my chin. For my second shot, I tried to eat it by attacking the crispy corners first, but that just made the egg ooze out like a leaky pipe. My girlfriend just chuckled the entire time. Finally, during my third attempt, I embraced a sword-swallower technique and showed the runny egg yolk who was the boss.
We celebrated the momentous occasion with some Grapefruit Sculpin on tap. Go figure. Good looking out, egg yolk.
This post previously appeared on MUNCHIES in August, 2015.