Call ’em what you will – friet, friets, patat, Vlaamse Frieten – but one thing is sure, the Dutch can’t seem to get enough of ’em! In fact, they love ’em so much they eat over 41 million kilos of these tasty guys per year! (But Dutch people don’t just stop at fries. Every Dutchie actually consumes over 18kg (40 lbs) of frozen potato products per year! Oh my!)
In English we refer to them as French Fries, but the French can’t take claim for their invention. Sadly, neither can the Dutch. These bad boys were born to the Dutchie’s favourite neighbour: Belgium and were coined “french fries” by
confused worldly American WW1 soldiers after the language spoken – and not the country.
Fries were common place in Belgium as early as 1680 but didn’t make waves in the lowlands until the ealry 1900s. In 1912, the presence of patat-friet houses in Rotterdam’s red light district was reported (oh, how some things never change…;)
So what makes Dutch fries so different from any other country’s variation? The toppings my friend, the toppings! Did you not see the now infamous scene in Pulp Fiction?!
VINCENT: But you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
VINCENT: I seen ’em do it. And I don’t mean a little bit on the side of the plate, they fuckin’ drown ’em in it.
Yes, mayo is a fries’ best friend in the lowlands. The two share a beautiful romance and can be found together all over town. Sometimes mayo’s cheaper dubious cousin, frietsauce, makes an (unwanted) appearance with its unknown ingredients, but for the most part friets + mayo live happily every after.
Of course if you wanna blend in with the locals you can impress your friends with your mad skills of the wide-array of uniquely Dutch toppings and sauces. Below is our handy cheat-sheet:
- Friet met satésaus: fries with peanut sauce
- Friet speciaal: fries with mayonnaise, (curry) ketchup and onions
- Patatje Joppie: fries with the “top-secret” Joppiesaus (actually just a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup and spices)
- Patatje oorlog: this one varies slightly by region but is most often served as fries with peanut sauce, mayonnaise and raw chopped onions. Oorlog the Dutch word for war, is a reference to the sloppy mess this dish entails
- Kapsalon: fries with kebab or shawarma and sometimes cheese
Of course all of the above are a long way from my dear old Poutine, but I have been known to enjoy the occasional friet speciaal after a long night out…;)