Ever since John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson sat discussing the strange fry habits of the Europeans, extra emphasis has been placed on what we all put on our chips. Since “Pulp Fiction” came out in 1994, nations have all been eyeing each other over exactly what we like to have on or around potatoes. The results are spectacular, to say the least.
As will shock no one who’s played around with French fries, they are an incredibly versatile ingredient. Small wonder then that creative chefs everywhere have managed to use local traditions to turn them into something tasty and culturally significant in almost every country on earth. Here are just a few of the weird and wonderful things people are putting on fries around the world.
It’s not just mayonnaise that forms an eggy topping for the world’s fries. Eggs turn up everywhere from Africa to Eastern Europe in a variety of inventive ways. In Tanzania, for instance, fries are covered in a mixture of raw egg and spices, before being baked into a chippy omelette, whilst Bulgarians serve their fries with a blend of egg, butter, pepper and cheese in a dish known as kartofi sus sirene.
Cheesy chips are one of the most delicious things on the planet. But, beyond stringy strips of cheddar or a pool of orange queso, there are some nations who have taken this combination to dizzying new heights. Canadian poutine, featuring cheese curds and salty gravy, is a prime example of an awesome cheesy street food with fries at its centre.
Much like cheese, gravy has long been a favourite topping for fry lovers, and nowhere is this tradition more beloved than in Britain. Head to any chippy anywhere in the country and you can pick up a greasy carton of thick cut chips, smothered in hot rich gravy for far less than you might expect. As a late night cheap-eat, this snack is hard to beat.
4. Masala sauce
Spicy, garlicky and full of flavour, this Kenyan tradition is one of the least widespread, yet most delicious ways to serve a French fry. Tomato-based masala curry sauce makes a perfect coating for twice-fried chips that work just as well on their own as they do as a side dish.
5. Patatje Oorlog
Vincent and Jules might have been amazed by the Dutch eating mayo, but they hadn’t heard the half of what bizarre extras end up on Amsterdam French fries. Patatje Oorlog is an eclectic combination of mayonnaise and spicy peanut satay sauce - delivering a strange but delicious mashup of European and Asian flavours.
A South American street-food staple, salchipapas tick just about every box for a meat eating French fry fan. Sliced up sausages are placed on thinly cut potatoes, before being topped with ketchup, mayo, mustard and spicy tomato salsa. It might look unappetising, but the flavour speaks for itself.
7. Curry Sauce
There’s something about the rich, over-salty flavour of a cheaply made curry sauce that was made for chips. Despite being a favourite in Britain and Ireland, this condiment has really found its audience is in the sausage obsessed nation of Germany. Particularly alongside legendary currywurst sausages, this sauce is definitely something to be taken seriously.
Of course, for some people, the idea of anything other than ketchup will be an absolute non-starter. Why ruin a potentially delicious plate of chips with something weird? But, the fact that these other techniques have proved so popular for so long should give you all the faith you need to know that, when it comes to French fries, sometimes it pays to be adventurous.