Potato: A Magical Vegetable
French fries, the first “vegetable” that most kids agree to eat, eaten almost everywhere on the planet, sometimes as a side, sometimes as a main meal, and often as a snack while walking around viewing sights in a lovely city. The simple potato is a special vegetable. It can be cooked in so many different ways, but chopped and fried, that is the style most of the world know.
But not all French fries are like each other, not all are even made of potatoes, and condiments are definitely not the same around the world. Both the French and the Belgians claim to have invented the fry, in India there is a spicy twist, many of the old British colonies still eat the same style of “chip”. In the end, every country has their own style, some have many, but considering we all love the snack, lets try out some of the more interesting ones from overseas.
1. Belgium – Pommes Frites –
Although commonly referred to as “French Fries” there is much debate between France and Belgium over who actually invented the the delicious fried potato. In Belgium fries are often eaten as a stand alone meal, as opposed to a side accompanying a main course. Many stores and stands have been set up that only sell “pommes frites” along with a huge variety of sauces. Moules Frites (Mussels and Fries) is also huge in Belgium. Fries in Belgium are thick, and soft on the inside.
Image Source: Belgianfries.com
2. France – Pommes Frites
The original French Fry? France definitely has a claim to be the inventor of the fry, and as the name has been taken up across the world as the “French Fry” they really hold a commanding position as the guardian of everything good in the world. A french french fry is usually thin and a little crispy, eaten on the side of a main dish. both Steak Frites and Moules Frites are particular favorites.
3. Canada – Poutine
How do you improve perfect? Simple, add cheese curds and gravy. The Canadian delicacy is sold in pubs, diners, road side stands and sports games. Major global companies often adapt their menus in Canada. McDonald’s offers a poutine option in most of their Canadian branches.
4. United States – The French fry
is almost a staple good in the US. “Would you like fries with that?” And while the US almost changed the name to “Freedom Fries” after the French decided to not support the US lead war in Iraq. The fry is still a huge part of American culture, and comes in different styles across the country. Check out this Business Insider article about the different types of fries across the 50 states of America.
5. UK – Chips
In the UK, what Americans call chips are called crisps, and fries are simply called chips. It is confusing, but everything good and British is a little confusing. Chips are famously eaten on the side of battered fish. In reality a Brit will eat chips with almost anything. But a good Brits chips will be “sloppy” almost soft, and covered in vinegar.
6. Germany Bratkartoffeln
The traditional German fried potato looks very different to a clean cut french fry, usually cut into uniform shapes and sizes, however they resemble a roast potato more so than a fry, and are often cooked with onion, bacon and green peppers.
7. Jamaica – Plantains
Although Jamaicans eat traditional potato fries, a national dish of Jamaica is fried plantains. A unripe banana is peeled and sliced to less than half an inch thick and fried in oil. The result is a particularly yummy and almost healthy snack that is often eaten at the start of a meal as a snack.
8. Israel – French Fries
In Israel french fries are relatively traditional, usually a thick cut, what makes fries special in Israel, is its accompanying ingredient. Often eaten with the traditional Middle Eastern chickpea dish hummus. Sephardic Jews (Middle Eastern) who moved to Israel around the time of the States creation brought with them the traditions and cuisines of the Middle East, along with the countries Arab Israeli population Hummus is a staple good in Israel, but with the European immigrants in Israel a quite unique dish is served, simply french fries with hummus. Often eaten at late night eateries to help those who have had a little too much too drink.
Image Source: Now I Am Hungry
9. South Africa – Slap Chips
Similar to the British sloppy fries, South African fries are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. However the main difference is the vinegar. South Africans soak their potatoes in vinegar before frying them. soaking in the flavor. They are then traditionally eaten with tomato sauce, which is just ketchup.
10. Australia – Chips
Much of Australia is still a little bit British, and their fries are very much in the South African, British sloppy form, however the Australians are not ones to just follow suit, and they have added an interesting ingredient to the traditional sloppy chip. Chicken Salt is big in Australia and ads that little bit of extra flavor to the simple fry. Australians have also recently pushed for French fry vending machines, to make the delightful snack just a little more accessible. Buy some Chicken Salt at Amazon.
What Is Chicken Salt? Image Source: Epicurious
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11. India -Finger chips
The fry is eaten in many different sizes in India, from thin cut to think cut, and sloppy ones too. But India being India, the land of the spices, has definitely added some interesting flavors to French Fries. Usually cooked with Turmeric and chili powder, Indian French fries come with a little kick. Masala flavored fries have also become a major selling item in India.
12. Japan – Furaido poteto
Furikake is a Japanese garlic condiment that includes dried bonito flakes, seaweed, sesame seeds and other seasonings. Fries can either be cooked with the powder, or left until ready to eat. Mcdonald’s again, catering to international markets has added Furkiake to their menu. There are often French fry shortages in Japan, which of course leads to mass hysteria!
13. Korea – honey butter fries
While this is new to South Korea, it has exploded in popularity, and from the sound of it, I can see why. They sound delicious, and once again Mcdonald’s has picked up on the craze. Korea is also the place where kids throw French fry parties, ordering $100s of dollars worth of fries and dips and going a little nuts for the potato snack.
14. Afghanistan – Pə’teɪtəʊ
In Afghanistan fries have become a major food good, often eaten from road side vendors alongside Kebobs It is one of the “western” foods that is gladly eaten and enjoyed.
Image Source: Two Fat Bellies
15. Holland – Various names
The Dutch are some of the biggest French fry eaters in the world, consuming an average of 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of frozen fries a year. In Holland fries come in a huge variety. A traditional sauce is mayonnaise. There is also Friet met satésaus: fries with peanut sauce.
Friet speciaal: fries with mayonnaise, (curry) ketchup and onions.
Patatje Joppie: fries with the “top-secret” Joppiesaus (a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup and spices).
Patatje oorlog: Varies slightly by region but is most often served as fries with peanut sauce, mayonnaise and raw chopped onions.
Image Source: Stuff Dutch People Like
16. Russia – Kartofel’ fri
Russian fries come prepared with an onion, while this might not make them as easy to eat on the go, the method ads so much flavor that they instantly improve any meal they are being served with. This is especially the case with steak and fries.
Image Source: Girls Guide To Butter
17. Mexico – Carne Asada Fries
We are actually cheating here, cooking fries in this method is actually not Mexican but a dish from San Diego, however it is made with traditional foods from Mexican dishes. Meat, guacamole, sour cream, onions, fries, dreamy!
18. Argentina – Milanesa completa
Argentinians like to add herbs to their french fries, usually parsley and garlic. However when Argentinians really comes into their own wit French fires, is Milanesa Completa, a unique take on the traditional italian Milanesa dish, breaded cutlet, (usually Veal, but chicken is also used) In Argentina the dish is served with two fried eggs and fries on the side. Taking a very Italian dish, and a famous french dish and combining them to make a delicious Argentinian dish.
Image Source: Absolut Argentina
19. The Philippines – Banana Ketchup
There is nothing particularly special about French fries in the Philippines, they are cut well, and eaten in huge quantities, what makes them special is their Ketchup. Ketchup made without tomatoes! It sounds like a sin, but in the Philippines they swear by banana ketchup, made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices, often dyed red to resemble tomato ketchup.
The origin of this rather peculiar substitute comes from WWII, tomato were in short supply, but the nation of islands has an abundance of bananas, after the war when trade returned, people had grown accustomed to the slightly sweeter taste.
20. Spain – Patatas Bravas
Traditionally eaten as Tapas, often served in bars, the potato fries are cut into irregular shapes and often served with a spicy tomato sauce (it is one of the spiciest items on a tapas menu) or Aioli in certain regions of Spain, mainly Catalonia.