A bowl of french fries.
French fries (North American English, fries, or french-fried potatoes and, in the United Kingdom,
chips) are thin strips of deep-fried potato. The phrase means potatoes fried in the French sense of the
verb "to cook", which can mean either sautéing or deep-grease frying.
North Americans often refer to
any elongated pieces of fried potatoes as fries, while in other parts of the
world, long slices of potatoes are sometimes called fries to contrast them with
the thickly cut strips, which are often referred to as chips.
are known as frites or pommes frites in many parts of Europe, and have names
that mean "french potatoes" in others (for example,
Icelandic Franskar kartöflur).
In Australia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, the term "French fries" was made
popular by American fast food franchises setting up restaurants and serving
narrow-cut (shoestring) fries. Traditional "chips" in the United Kingdom and
Ireland are usually cut much thicker, typically between ⅜ and ½ inches (9.5-13
mm) square in cross-section and cooked twice, making them less crunchy on the
outside and fluffier on the inside. Since the surface-to-volume ratio is lower,
they have a lower fat content.
Chips are part of the popular take-away dish
and chips. They are slab-cut pieces of potato that have been
deep-fried or baked. In Australia, the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, few towns are without
a chip shop (colloquially, a chippie/chippy/chipper).
French fries are almost always salted just after cooking.
They are then served with a variety of condiments, notably ketchup, curry, curry
ketchup (mildly hot mix of the former), hot or chili sauce, mustard, mayonnaise,
bearnaise sauce, tartar sauce, tzatziki, feta cheese, garlic sauce, fry sauce,
ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, gravy, aioli, brown sauce, vinegar (especially
malt vinegar), lemon, piccalilli, pickled cucumber, gherkins, very small pickled
onions, or honey.
A Belgian legend claims that the term "French" was introduced
when British or American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, and
consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them "French", as it
was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time.
Left: Fries cooking
Whether or not Belgians invented them, "Frieten" became the national snack and a
substantial part of several national dishes.