Believe it or not, potatoes aren’t native to anywhere in Europe. The spud crop is actually from South America, where it was first domesticated between 8000-5000 BCE in Peru and Bolivia. Eventually, potatoes were introduced to Europe through Spain via explorers who picked them up during their travels. The crop took root throughout the continent and became a major crop – and still is.
And then came the French fries. You’d think they were from France, but legend says that’s not the case. According to Jo Gerard, a Belgian journalist, French fries are from his home town, as he has a family manuscript dating back to 1781 that tells of deep frying potatoes prior to 1680. But Jo’s not huge on showing anyone the manuscript, so it’s understandable that the world’s a little skeptical. If Jo’s story turned out to be untrue, fries didn’t arrive until 1735. But regardless of the manuscript’s authenticity, Belgians still consume more French fries per capita than any other country.
Nowadays, French fries are popularized around the globe, so it’s only natural that people dress them up in a variety of different ways. In the US, they’re most commonly eaten salted with ketchup, but other countries have their own techniques for enjoying the potato delight.
Albania: French fries are known as patatis and are generally served luke warm with grease.
Australia: Forget regular salt. The Aussies put chicken salt on their fries...and basically everything else too.
Bulgaria: So long dipping sauce. Bulgarian’s choose to deck their fries out with spices and sirene – a brine cheese similar to feta.
Canada: Some people say the way one eats French fries is what separates America from Canada. Canadians eat a special dish called poutine – fries drenched with gravy and topped with cheese curds.
Denmark and France: Generally, a condiment called remoulade is served with fries in these countries. It’s a mayonnaise based sauce similar to tartar that’s often flavored with curry, pickles, piccalilli, horseradish, or paprika.
Germany: The best of both worlds: ketchup and mayo. Germans often dip their pommesfrites in a mixture of both sauces.
Japan: French fries on this island nation are enjoyed similarly to those in the US, with the exception of seaweed seasoning, which is often sprinkled on top.
Mexico: Mexicans enjoy their fries with hot sauce and lemon juice.
Namibia: The land where French fries are called “slap chips” and known for being soggy and drenched in oil.
Netherlands: In this small country, you can get delicious fries wrapped in paper via street vendors and don’t have to worry about trying to walk and dip at the same time. They come topped with thick mayonnaise – but it’s thicker and sweeter than in the states.
Philippines: Banana ketchup? Really. Sweet, spicy, and great with fries.
Poland: Garlic cream, garlic sauce, or minced garlic – can you ever really have enough on fries? Poles don’t think so either.
UK: Brits enjoy their French fries – or rather, chips – with a delicious coating of salt and vinegar.
About the Author:
Katie Straw is the Gourmet Scribe at GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the top suppliers of gift baskets in the nation, and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire.