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Aussies rage at British take on iconic chicken dish: 'WTF is a parmo?'

Just when you thought the chicken parmigiana couldn't get any more contentious.

Relations between Australia and the United Kingdom have become strained again as further evidence emerged of rampant cross-continental culinary foul play. The spark? A British restaurant menu offering several versions of the chicken schnitzel-based melt they call a "parmo". Yes, parmo.

The menu of course proved controversial for Australians who are already locked in a long-running debate over whether the correct abbreviation for a chicken parmigiana is "parmi" or "parma". "Look at these upstarts with their 'parmo'," heckled an Aussie Reddit user.

The Parmo menu
The 'parmo' menu has ruffled many a feather Down Under. Source: Reddit

"Certainly throws a cat among the pigeons in the age-old 'parma vs parmi' debate," noted someone else. "I don't even know why it's an argument to begin with," spat back another fried chicken fan. "It's full name is 'Parmigiana' ergo, 'parmi'. There is no other name for it."

"No wonder the empire is crumbling," commented another Aussie, particularly disgusted by the menu's promise of "all parmos served with béchamel sauce". Others went even further, calling for Australia to secede from the Commonwealth. "Republic NOW," came one such call.

Meanwhile, a chicken lover from Canberra was less optimistic about the future, responding: "Ah s**t, they've gone and f***ing ruined everything."

Chicken parmigiana
The British 'parmo' is all but identical to the Aussie chicken parmigiana, with the only difference being the type of sauce used in the dish. Source: Getty

"WTF is a parmo? Incandescently angry now," vented another person. "A parmo is a UK dish of schnitzel, béchamel sauce and cheese," explained one knowledgeable Redditor. "Béchamell is what makes it a parmo. It's a UK thing," agreed another.

However, according to one apparent Brit, the parmo or Teesside parmesan, is a dish originating in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, and a popular takeaway food in the Teesside area. It consists of a breaded cutlet of chicken or pork topped with a white béchamel sauce and cheese, usually cheddar cheese.

Traditional Italian parmigiana
The traditional Italian parmigiana is served with tomato, cheese and basil, but over eggplant instead of chicken. Source: Getty

It turns out this origin story is just as contentious as it is interesting though, as it means the "parmo" is indeed a local and distinctly British innovation. That would stand in stark contrast to the Australian chicken parmigiana, which has roots in the traditional Italian parmigiana or eggplant parmesan.

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