Are French fries actually from France?

Names can sometimes be misleading, especially if we’ve been taught to say them from a young age. Russian dressing doesn’t originate from the USSR, but from New Hampshire (a US state). If you think Jerusalem artichokes are from Israel… no, they aren’t. Now, for the main scoop, are French fries actually from France? Read on to find out.

french fries are not french - plain fries

French fries can be found in every corner of the globe but people from different parts of the world eat them in a diverse range of ways.

In America, they’re dunked in ketchup for their sweet and salty nature. It’s interesting to note that this trend didn’t catch on till the 1940s, when fast food restaurants were starting to take off.

french fries are not french - ketchup with fries

The Canadians serve theirs as poutine, which is a dish of French fries and cheese curds slathered with brown gravy on top. How does it taste? Just imagine mashed potatoes with gravy, but upgraded!

How about Singaporeans and our neighbours, the Malaysians? Well, we cannot live without our chilli sauce now, can we?

french fries are not french - poutine

There are claims that fries originated in Belgium, where local villagers along the River Meuse traditionally ate fried fish. When the river froze during winter, they turned to fried potatoes instead.

It is said that this fried dish was discovered during World War I by American soldiers who were stationed in Southern Belgium, where the primary language was French. Thus, the soldiers named the delicious potatoes as “French” fries.

french fries are not french - fries with mayo

The Belgians have their French fries with mayonnaise, which is a surprise to me as I love pairing my fries with a combination of mayonnaise and chilli sauce myself. Apparently, there has been a conflict going on between France and Belgium on who invented fries.

french fries are not french - fries musuem

French fries are consumed on a higher scale in Belgium than France and there’s even a museum dedicated to french fries, called the Friet Musuem (the world’s first).

I guess it’ll be weird if we step into a Western restaurant and ask for Belgian fries instead—some things are better off unchanged!

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