Bad days are best forgotten over French Fries, and good days just get better.
What is it about certain foods that get our stomach growling, our head in a tizzy and our heart pounding? Case in point: French Fries. Thank god for potatoes! Fried golden and spruced up with ketchup or mayo, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, I would literally devour french fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But seriously. French Fries are my kryptonite – it’s the one thing I always cave in for, the one hankering I can’t resist, the one food I can’t get enough of. So if you’re overcome with emotion every time you take your first bite and are simply addicted to French Fries, you’ll love this. Countries all over the world have transformed French Fries in their own way, giving it a twist like no other. And can you blame ’em? It’s just got that je ne sais quoi.
1. United States
The most common way to eat fries in the U.S. may be with ketchup, some even enjoy it with sour cream or gravy. But the most popular way till today is… *drum roll, please*… Chilli Cheese Fries. Covered in chilli and a whole lot of cheese, the Americans take fries to a whole new level.
In 1957, French Canadian Chef Fernand Lachance took fries and made them into a heavenly mess called poutine. A mess we all are eternally grateful for. All it takes to make the classic version is piping hot French Fries bathed in gravy and cheese curd. The Canadians often celebrate this instant hit at annual poutine festivals held in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. It is colloquially known as the National Food of Canada and for good reason. Sold at every street corner, you may even find fusion versions like butter chicken poutine, seafood poutine and what not.
Not that fries needed to become better, but the Germans sure did nail it. Their version, Bratkartoffeln, is basically fries spruced up onions, bacon and green peppers. Bacon. Yes, bacon. The Germans teamed French Fries up with something so divine, it makes us drool. As the saying goes, “bacon makes everything better”… We’re taking the next flight out.
4. United Kingdom
In the UK, French Fries are gobbled up with a sprinkle of salt and malt vinegar, and are in fact referred to as chips. They like their ‘chips’ oh so crispy, thick, chunky and preferably with fish. The fries here are not as slim as the ones elsewhere.
A dizzying variety of sauces and dips are available for French Fries, but remoulade is the ridiculously popular one. Not just in France, but in Denmark, Iceland and Scandinavia as well. Fries are served with a mayonnaise-based sauce which consists of mustard, spices, paprika, curry, horseradish and lemon juice. It often includes other flavourings such as pickles and anchovies as well, and is commonly eaten with seafood.
The French may be many things, but are surely not the inventors of French Fries, Fact: Belgium is the birthplace of the fried potato. Served hot in cardboard cones by street vendors and chip shops, fries are topped off various condiments such as peanut butter sauce, mayonnaise and spicy ketchup. Rather than a side, it is often eaten here as a stand alone meal known as Pommes Frites. The Belgians take their fries very seriously.
In Peru, de rigueur way of eating fries is Salchipapas that is a mix of regular fries with pan fried sausages and a condiment of your choice, originally mustard. Peruvians are crazy passionate about their fries, try it and you won’t be disappointed. We promise.
Doused in a variety of seasonings including cumin, garlic paste, tomato paste, turmeric, tandoori masala, chilli powder and pepper – Kenya makes quite a masaledar version of French Fries. Here, it’s referred to as Masala Chips.
Kartofi Sus Sirene as they like to call it in Bulgaria, is simply fries covered in spices and grated cheese called sirene, a tangy brine cheese very similar to feta cheese. Yes, French Fries are amazing on their own. But combined with cheese, they are a force.
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Japan’s love for french fries – know as furaido potato – is legendary. Fries here are served with seasonings in a variety of flavours made with soy, seaweed and other spice mixes. Shake shake fries are really popular there, and many restaurants allow you to flavour your potatoes just the way you like. Toppings include basil, barbeque, chicken soup and many such options.
A classic tapas dish, Patatas Bravas is native to Spain and basically crispy fried potato chunks cooked with a spicy tomato sauce or aioli. The sauce includes red wine vinegar, paprika, chilli and olive oil. The Spanish sure do know how to impress!
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