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French-Fry Fascination: How Other Countries Flavor Fries

The clouds parted and the sun shone its brightest the moment some kitchen genius decided to transform humble potatoes into long, fried cylinders of deliciousness. These days, there’s possibly no vegetable dish as universally beloved as french fries. They’re found in eateries all over the world and enjoyed with a surprising variety of condiments and toppings. If you think ketchup reigns supreme everywhere, feast your eyes on the many ways countries choose to dress their fries. Related Stories: Strange McDonald’s Menu Items Around the World Hold the Ketchup: High-Calorie Condiments That Add Up From Gujrat to Glasgow: Breakfast Around the World
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  • Japan

    In Japanese fast-food restaurants, like First Kitchen and McDonald’s, fries are seasoned with flavored powders such as seaweed, barbecue, Italian seasoning, basil, and even chicken soup. First Kitchen actually has toppings bars where you can create their so-called “flavor potatoes.”

    Photo source: petrr (cc)

  • Hong Kong and Singapore

    McDonald’s calls these seasoned fries “shake shake” fries, and they’re sold in other Asian countries, as well. You put the fries in a bag, pour a seasonings packet over them, and shake it up until the fries are coated.

    Photo source: iMorpheus (cc)

  • Philippines

    Banana ketchup is the condiment of choice in the Philippines. It’s actually sweeter than tomato ketchup is, and a little spicier, too—think Thai chili sauce with a hint of vinegar. Banana ketchup is also used as spaghetti sauce.

    _Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Malaysia

    Like Filipinos, Malaysians like their french-fry accompaniments sweet and with a little kick. Chili sauce is a frequent addition to many foods here, but it works especially well with fried goods.

    Photo source: Like the Grand Canyon (cc)

  • UK

    Other than a robust dash of malt vinegar and salt, french-fry fans in the UK fancy HP Sauce, a brown sauce made with malt vinegar, tomatoes, tamarind, and various spices. Brown sauce is also big in Canada.

    Photo source: Annie Mole (cc)

  • Australia and New Zealand

    Aussies and Kiwis also enjoy vinegar on their fries, but rather than use plain old table salt, they reach for chicken salt. In fact, they use chicken salt the way we use regular salt, giving all their fried entrées a subtle dose of poultry flavor.

  • Denmark and France

    Rémoulade is the most popular topping on french fries in Denmark and France. It’s mayonnaise-based and usually includes ingredients such as curry, paprika, lemon juice, horseradish, mustard, and so forth.

    Photo source: cyclonebill (cc)

  • Germany

    Mayonnaise- and aioli-based condiments are also what Germans request most when ordering a currywurst meal, which often comes with a side of fries. The curry ketchup that coats the meat also makes a fine dipping sauce.

    Photo source: Like the Grand Canyon (cc)

  • Netherlands

    No need to sit down with french fries in the Netherlands, where fries are put in big cones for on-the-go snacking. Mayonnaise is the usual topper, but lest you get grossed out, it’s creamier and more flavorful than the mayonnaise we have in the United States is.

    Photo source: ryemang (cc)

  • Belgium

    The Dutch people’s love for french fries is matched only by the Belgians’, who also put fries in cones and douse them in everything from peanut sauce to spicy ketchup to curry mayonnaise—sometimes all in the same cone.

    Photo source: Like the Grand Canyon (cc)

  • Bulgaria

    Don’t expect an array of liquid toppings like what you’d find in Belgium if you order fries in Bulgaria. Instead, they come sprinkled with spices and sirene, a tangy cheese that’s similar to feta.

    Photo source: cherrylet (cc)

  • Romania

    In Romania, you dip french fries in mujdei, a spicy sauce made with minced garlic cloves, salt, oil, vinegar, and a little bit of water. The consistency can be more on the liquid or paste side, depending on one’s preference.

    _Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Puerto Rico and Argentina

    Mixing mayonnaise and ketchup creates Russian dressing in the United States (or “fry sauce,” as it’s known in Utah and surrounding areas), but it goes by “mayoketchup” in Puerto Rico and by “salsa golf” in Argentina. A common ratio is two parts mayonnaise to one part ketchup.

    _Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Canada

    Canadians cite poutine as a surefire hangover cure, as the jaw-dropping amount of grease it contains could surely soak up a whole year’s worth of alcohol. Even so, beef gravy and fresh cheese curds remain their preferred way to flavor french fries, even when sober.

    Photo source: LWY (cc)

  • United States

    Not to be outdone by our friends up north, we also favor cheese and beefy substances on top of our fries. Of course, the cheese is hardly fresh (though it is American!), and the gravy is eschewed for an even heartier chili.

    Photo source: Virtual Ern (cc)

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