[Photograph: Debbie Carlos]

Having grown up in the Philippines, I always pay special attention to the Filipino food options in the city. While Uncle Mike's Place serves your typical American diner fare, it also features a small menu of Philippine breakfast food, including many of my childhood comforts like lugao (rice porridge), longaniza, fried bangus (milkfish), garlic fried rice, and Spam. Yes, Spam.

There are a lot of things leftover from when the U.S. was in Philippines during World War II. In terms of food, Spam and canned corned beef hash are definitely included in this category. Personally, I usually preferred "spicy" Spam on a sandwich, with over-easy eggs and wheat bread.

At Uncle Mike's, the plate comes to the table with the sandwich open, so that you can see the slices of red Spam nicely fanned out atop your eggs. The Spam was perfectly fried on one side and the egg had a nice, runny yolk. Biting in, I could taste just the right amount of crispness from the Spam, which gave way to the salty, tender meat. The neutral flavor of the egg, with its creamy, runny yolk, balanced out the more aggressively flavored meat.

Though I would not really call it spicy, the Spam had a good kick to it. The plate also came with a few slices of pickles which added a little bit of brightness. Soup and lugao are free if you dine in, and at $5.75 a sandwich, it's a pretty satisfying meal.

Uncle Mike's Place

1700 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map)


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