French fries or are they Belgian fries?

When abroad you learn to appreciate the things you have back at home. One of them for me is Belgian food: chocolates, waffles, our fries,… During last week’s #TTOT session on Twitter there was a question I hear all the time.

 – @IsabellesTravel Are Belgian fries different to French fries then? Sorry in advance for my ignorance :-) #ttot –

I have had this discussion about fries already on many occasions (not saying any names *cough*)  and I thought it was time to set the record straight.

What`s the difference between French fries and Belgian fries?

My opinion, French fries are Belgian fries and something went wrong when naming them. But some people say French fries are the thinner version of fries. Belgian fries are cut thicker. As a matter of fact that`s one of the explanation I found in my research, the fries are cut “French” hence the name French fries.

Another explanation is that the term “French” was introduced when American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, tasted Belgian fries, but called them French as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time.

We can go on about whether they should be called Belgian or French fries, but one thing is for sure, we do love our fries in Belgium. You can find a “friterie” or “frituur” (a place where they only sell fries) in even the smallest town. They are served with a wide variety of sauces and snacks.

When visiting Belgium I would suggest trying our fries and judging yourself. I prefer having fries in a “frietzak”, a conic white piece of cardboard with sauce on top, Belgian style! You can also try our famous Moules & Frites and of course you shouldn`t forget about our waffles, chocolates

For those of you who still doubt about the origin, even Wikipedia says under origin of French fries: Belgium. #justsaying And Wikipedia is always right…right?

Did you ever try Belgian fries? What did you think of them?

Still interested to learn more, then check out the “Frietmuseum” in Bruges, the only one in the world.

Comments

  1. says

    I stick to calling them just Fries… your post made me want to go to a Fritkot and get some Frites with sauce Andalouse. yumyumyum

    • Isabelle says

      I have to admit Jerick, writing this post made me hungry for them too ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. says

    Vlaamse frites for me thank you! Think you’re right that we can safely blame erm… certain ignorant quarters for getting the names wrong. By the way, the Dutch make really good frites too! :-)

    • Isabelle says

      Very true Keith, they are definitely comparable. When are you coming down to have some Vlaamse frites with me?

    • Isabelle says

      Hi Jane, I live about an hour from Brussels, so next time I`m there, I`ll check out your top picks. Thanks!

  3. says

    I’ll take a portion of both please! With some Dutch fries on the side because as Keith says they’re not bad either… and I love the Fritessaus you get in Holland…

    Anyone else hungry now? x

    • Isabelle says

      LOL Actually that`s a good idea. We should have a buffet of “fries” and then we`ll judge ;)

  4. says

    Many of us wondering what the difference between French fries and Belgium fries. The explanation is simple when we say french fries it is what you can get anywhere, but for them to be “Belgian Fries,” you have to follow a more rigorous procedure. Basically, French Fries are cooked once, drained, salted and served, but Belgian Fries are fried once at a lower temperature, allowed to drain, then fried again at a higher temp so the outside can get NICE AND CRISPY.

    • says

      Matthew’s spot on. Frying them twice is probably the more “Belgian” way and gives fries a crispier consistency and slightly different flavour. I much prefer them this way and have to admit (apologies to Jeremy below) that they’re stupidly good with mayo. I’ve totally come around to eating my fries with mayonnaise. Ketchup? Whatever… ;-)

  5. Dale says

    I spent most of my military career in Europe (yes, lucky me), with tours in Belgium, Spain & Germany, and visited many other countries since travel there is reasonably priced & simple. Every country I visited had a version of fried potatoes, but hands down the Belgians have raised it to an art form. It starts in the fields where they grow a specially bred potato (I drove past dozens of farms that grew them exclusively). Every now and then I would see a small stand where one could stop and buy a bag, which I did – they”re a type of new potato; thin skin with rich meaty texture and huge in size. Every “fritt stand” fried them the proper way (fried twice, with a pause between rounds). Along with the fritts, vendors typically sold several other fried goodies to go along with the fritts, like several types of kabobs (they called them brochettes), meatballs, and always several types of mayonnaise based sauces (Andalouse was tasty but my favorite was “Extra Americaine – not sure where they came up with the name). The larger stands would usually offer what I would describe as the “Bonus Level” meaning some type of meat sauce ladeled over the top of the fritts in a flat tray. Two types I remember were “voule-a-vent” and “stove-vlees” (not sure of spelling). Needless to say, keeping my weight under control was an issue, but ah, the memories!

  6. says

    Belgian fries really are the best. It must be the double frying process that makes them so good. That and the variety of sauces. The Dutch version, available on practically every street corner where we live, isn’t quite as tasty, but my husband and I are fond of the ‘friet speciaal’, fries topped with curry sauce, mayo and chopped onions. We’ll have to take a road trip across the border soon for the real thing!!

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