Despite bearing the moniker of another country, most Americans would argue that French fries are one of the United States’ most iconic — and popular — dishes.
However, we’re just another country that has put its own spin on a classic Belgian plate. That’s right: Our beloved fries were most likely first invented in Belgium, where they’re called “frites,” in the 1600s.
Many countries in every corner of the globe — from Canada to Japan — have their own way of eating this beloved dish.
Read on to learn more about how fries are served around the world; you may find your new favorite way to eat them.
Originally invented in Quebec, poutine may just be one of Canada’s most signature dishes—and, of course, it features fries front and center. In this dish, French fries are first cooked to medium-thick perfection—ideally, the fries should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. From there, they’re plated and topped with cheese curds and gravy. It may be a bit of an acquired taste, but poutine-lovers swear by this regional fry delicacy.
Pita gyros are pretty much the go-to in Greece—but it’s not all about the meat, falafel, and veggies. Many shops in Greece offer an option to add fries, with additional condiments available on the side.
3. Slap Chips
While other countries may serve their fries alongside other foods, South Africa stays a purist with its slap chips, where the recipe is all about the preparation and cooking method. This secret to this dish is soaking the cut raw potatoes in vinegar before frying up the batch—twice. These fries, which should be notably crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, are available at fast food restaurants across the country.
4. Belgian Frites
There are many culinary delights the rest of the world can thank Belgium for: waffles, chocolates, and, of course, frites. Since the original fry-makers can’t be shown up, this variety—double-fried, salted, and served with mayonnaise—is understandably one of the best out there. Far from a side dish, frites are an integral stand-alone dish in Belgian culture, sold by both restaurants and street vendors (and eaten with adorable tiny forks).
5. Fish and Chips
*Should be read in an English accent. Does it get more quintessentially English than a plate of fish and chips? We don’t think so. As the name might suggest, this dish consists of two parts: fried battered fish (often cod) and French fries. Top it off with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice, malt vinegar, and/or tartar sauce for an authentic taste of how our neighbors across the pond get down with their fried selves.
6. Moules Frites
7. Masala Chips
A staple of Kenyan cuisine, masala chips are a spicy, garlicky take on traditional French fries. After twice-frying the potatoes, they are then tossed in a tomato-based masala sauce and topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
8. Chili Cheese Fries
A ballpark favorite distinctly associated with hot days spent rooting for the home team, chili cheese fries are pretty much synonymous with the USA. A take on the popular cheese fries—fries doused in nacho cheese—this dish stands above the rest for its inclusion of chili, usually made with carne asada. It’s best eaten out of a paper carton.
9. Patatje Oorlog
If you’re not familiar with patatje oorlog, then ordering fries in the Netherlands can elicit some shock at the dipping choices: peanut sauce (most often a spicy satay) and mayo. It’s often served with chopped raw onions—an unusual combination of flavors that has earned its spot as one of the most popular Dutch street foods.
Popular not just in Peru but across Latin America, salchipapas is a street-food essential. The fries in this dish are topped with sliced sausages and served with a variety of condiments, usually including ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and aji, a tomato-onion salsa.
11. Chipsi Mayai
A popular dish in Tanzania, East Africa, chipsi mayai is essentially a French fry omelette. It’s most commonly found—and best made—at street vendors, who fry sliced potatoes in large black woks outside their stands. Some add vegetables to the omelette itself—although the traditional way is simply eggs and fries—while others top it with tomato chili sauce, kachumbari (a tomato-onion salad), and chile peppers.
12. Curry Chips
Curry chips are nothing short of a phenomenon in Ireland and the UK. A classic comfort food often eaten as a late-night snack, the dish consists of French fries topped with the shredded cheese and a signature “chip shop curry sauce”—so beloved that many have attempted to replicate it at home. Few have succeeded. A similar version? Germany’s currywurst.
13. Kartofi Sus Sirene
A dish popular in Bulgaria and the Ukraine, kartofi sus sirene is made from baking sliced potatoes (so technically not fried at all) smothered in a blend of sirene cheese, butter, egg, and pepper. The final product should be slightly browned on the top, and deliciously cheesy to bite into.