hot oil sputtering

Deep Fried Water is The Weirdest Food Trend

Did you say deep fried water?

A bizarre and rather hazardous culinary trend with the potential to underwhelm your tastebuds has arrived in the form of deep-fried water. Now, as ridiculous as this may sound, the explanation for outlandish food trends is rather simple. The nature of the insular lifestyle we have been forced into has given rise to an endless overflow of hobbies, recipes, and other DIY activities we never before thought possible. ‘Idle hands,’ you say? NEVER…


This escapade will certainly raise eyebrows, but the flavor experience on the horizon does seem rather limited. Let’s introduce you to deep-fried water, and you can decide for yourself. Regardless of what the name may suggest, this has, in actual fact, nothing to do with the act of boiling water at all, so you can put those notions to rest.


What is deep fried water?

What deep fried water is really made from is calcium alginate, a transparent, gelatinous chemical compound. This is formulated using chemicals such as aqueous sodium alginate and aqueous calcium chloride, which holds the water inside like a rather thick membranous bubble.[1]


This scientific-sounding cuisine first appeared in 2016, when a recipe was presented by YouTube chef and deep fryer extraordinaire Jonathan Marcus. It consisted of dipping the substance in panko crumbs, flour, and eggs and fried in peanut oil. This was aptly created for The San Francisco Stupid Sh** Nobody Needs And Terrible Ideas Hackathon. Since then, Youtube has nothing short of exploded with like-minded creators seeking to share their crazy ideas with an ever-growing audience.

deep fried water

James Orgill, a chemical engineer who operates The Action Labs YouTube channel, remarked:[2]


“First of all it’s surprising that you can turn water into an edible dish, and it’s a little bit comical to fry it after, It seems ridiculous to say, even impossible.”

However impractical deep fried water may seem, the rather harsh reality is that it can be a hazardous dish to attempt, so be warned. The obvious fact that oil and water are completely insoluble when mixed means that should this battered, gelatine-Esque water purse hemorrhage, even the slightest amount of water in the frying process, the results can hurt. Fancy a rather large explosive splash of boiling hot oil, anyone? But of course, you are an amateur geophysicist with a lava-proof suit. It goes without saying that to try this at home, you do so at your own risk.


Read: Woman feels ‘discriminated’ over lack of meat-free meals at KFC


Cooking experiments

Orgill, an experienced man of science, however successfully made deep fried water the first time he tried it in January. Although to put things in perspective, he may have a certain talent for scientific drama after he managed to capture an electric spark inside a block of ice. What is perhaps more admirable is that Orgill used the creation of deep fried water to educate his followers about chemical compounds. The reason Orgill undertook the experiment, was that:


“There were a lot of cooking channels doing it, but nobody seemed to be talking about the chemistry behind these edible polymers, which I used sodium alginate to make.”

Orgill explores all sorts of weird and wonderful questions and challenges on his channel, such as how to lasso houseflies and what the car driving experience must be like on another planet. Deep fried water was a perfect way to cover both viral media and educational content simultaneously. As for the culinary results, Orgill reported that:


It tasted really gross though. There’s no flavor, and it just tastes kind of salty and slimy.”

Deep fried water has spawned a fried liquid trend with a steady string of sequels like Kool-Aid and Dry Ice. One does begin to wonder if the interest behind this has anything to do with food at all.

Deep fried water becomes a trend

The 18-year-old chef and content creating sensation, Eitan Bernath, was also enthralled by the idea. Bernath explained that attempting the deep-fried water recipe was a trial and error process. While Bernath’s experiment with deep fried water had plenty of shock value as online content, he said it was also a valuable learning experience. He admitted:[3]

“Since I was a little kid, we’ve always had oil on the kitchen stove. Just in case we needed to deep fry something. So when my followers told me about deep fried water, at first I thought they were joking. Most videos were using sodium alginate. But when we used that, it formed very delicate bubbles that would break when we tried to bread them. So, we tried using agar, which is a sort of vegan gelatin that is widely used in Asia. So many Asian cuisines use agar, so it’s kind of like you’re learning about that food and culture when you try to make deep fried water.”

Would the chef-star prodigy ever serve such a delicacy on any menu? you might rightly ask. “It tastes like jellyfish,” was his response, so not likely. Some things are just better seen on YouTube or TikTok than eaten.

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  1. We Asked People Who Deep-Fry Water: Why?” VICE. Shamani Joshi. March 31, 2021.
  2. How To Make Fried Water.” YouTube. The Action Lab. December 13, 2020.
  3. Deep Frying Water (DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!) | Eitan Bernath.” Youtube. Eitan Bernath. January 31, 2021.
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.