No.1 travel guide for Belgium; dedicated to Belgian beer and food culture.

Belgian Fries


Email  •  Print

We succumb every single time. Our affection for our national pride, 'frieten' or 'frites', goes as deep as our love for our beer, chocolate and waffles. Nothing tastes as good as a paper cone Belgian Fries Belgian frites/frieten
© BeerTourism.com
filled to the brim with golden-brown, fries doused in salt and…..

Just image a night out in the cold. And then feel the warmth on your hands from the hot bag of fries you’ve just bought.

But then, the lady serving you wants to know what you would like with your fries? Mayonnaise, pickles, sauce tartare, 'sauce andalouse' (a Belgian sauce of mayonnaise, tomato paste and peppers) or cocktail?

Before you know it, the golden-brown delicacy has been covered in a dollop of mayo, and your fingers are cautiously wandering around the bag to find any fry that is still uncoated in order to dip it into the sauce and stuff it into your face.

Unless you ask for the dressing to be served separately so you can dip in your fries one by one and lick your fingers after every single one. However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Just as our inner Burgundian knows where to go on a Sunday morning for freshly-baked rolls and 'koffiekoeken' (Danish pastries / viennoiserie), we also have our instincts as to where we go for our freshly cooked fries.


Frietkot

One 'frietkot' or 'friture' – the Belgian version of the chip shop - is very different from the next. They come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Entire volumes have been filled with poetry in praise of the Belgian Belgian Fries The 'Frituur' or 'Friture'
© BeerTourism.com
'frietkot'. In fact these shops externalize our innate spirit of anarchy.

These stalls, or chippies, are seldom beautiful but they are often charming. Just as an aspiring brewer will set up his brewing kettle in his garden shed, the 'friturist' traditionally starts up his or her business in a shack or cabin, with or without wheels.

It won’t be long before some simple garden chairs appear on the scene, making for a fun place to get-together. And then the rumor mill starts working and more people turn up.

You may have your own regular shop but that won’t stop you from being curious. You want to see how ‘your’ fries are done by someone else. Make no mistake, we have our standards and won’t mince our words.

Any brewer whose beer has a different taste on one occasion will be hauled over the coals. Ditto, there will be a fair dose of criticism for the 'friturist' who allows himself too many creative liberties. After all, rules are there to be followed. And there is one rule that stands above all others: Belgian fries are fried twice.


Twice-fried and singing

What did they teach us when we were young? Pick a healthy-looking, large potato suitable for frying. Top of the range is the 'bintje' variety, a floury potato that does not turn dark after frying. Belgian Fries The right potatoes
© BeerTourism.com
Other varieties that produce an excellent fry include: Agria, Désirée, Première, Rode Eersteling and Santé.

Peel the potatoes and cut it into strips around 10mm thick. Rinse these raw fries in cold water to remove the excess starch and dry them thoroughly.

And now for the pre-frying stage: gently lower the fries into the fat, heated to 150°C, and leave them to swim for 4-5 minutes. During this stage the raw potato will be cooked without turning brown. Pre-cooking takes some of the moisture out of the potato. If the oil is too hot, the potato sticks will burn and the moisture has no means of escape, producing saggy fries. Once the fries have started ‘singing’ – they will bubble on the surface – gently lift them Belgian fries Golden brown
© BeerTourism.com
out of the fat and shake them off well.

These pre-fried fries should now be spread out and cooled down for at least half-an-hour, longer if possible.

Then heat the fat to 180°C. Gently lower the pre-cooked fries into the fat for a few minutes. This makes them deliciously crispy.

This time they will start to sing after two or three minutes, when you can remove them and shake off the fat. If you are not making your own fries but are having a take-away, take a good look at the shape of the fries. If they are too regular in shape, they have not been cut by hand.

And every Belgian food lover worth his salt will tell you that there is nothing yummier than twice-baked, hand-cut fries with a dollop of home-made mayonnaise.


Why Belgian fries?

Our fries have travelled far and wide, but they’re often disguised as ‘French fries’. That’s not fair - the potato has been popular here for far longer than it has been in our big southern neighbor. Belgian Fries On the go...
© BeerTourism.com
It is even said that we used the humble potato to pelt the Austrian occupiers during the revolt known as the 'Brabantse Omwenteling' in 1787.

So how exactly were Belgian fries created? In the valley of the Meuse it was usual to fry small fish, the so-called small fry. When the fishermen couldn’t get out to fish, potatoes stood in.

Fishermen’s wives are thought to be responsible for spreading the potato-frying habit along the rivers and canals travelled by their husbands.

The first 'friture' (take-away chip shops) were set up during the second half of the 19th century. But why call them ‘French fries’? During the First World War, the country was almost overrun by British soldiers.

They discovered the fries and associated them with the language then in common use by the Belgian army (French). And so the name ‘French fries’ was born. Just recently, a proposal has been put forward to make the Belgian 'frites' culture part of UNESCO World Heritage.

A similar proposal relating to Belgian beer culture is already underway. We’ll celebrate that with a lovely fry or two.


Related Pages

Chocolate-2_1024x681

Chocolate

Extensive guide on the history and origins of chocolate in general as well as the deep-rooted Belgian love affair with the world's favourite sweet...[ more... ]

Cookie

Typical Sweets

A guide to Belgian sweets, from waffles to macaroons. Details of typical sweet delicacies produced, found and eaten throughout Belgium...[ more... ]

Typical

Typical Dishes

The ultimate guide to contemporary day-to-day Belgian cuisine and typical dishes you can expect to find and eat in Belgium. Beer pairing advice is also provided for each dish...[ more... ]

Food

Food and Produce

An introduction to Belgian food and cuisine as well as the country's main produce and specialities from Belgian cheese to French fries and waffles...[ more... ]




Comments


You must be logged in to leave a comment


SHARE:
 



BLOG

POSTS
Palm and Rodenbach - now under the banner of Swinkels Family Brewers

LIESHOUT/STEENHUFFEL - Since 2016 the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries have been owned by Bavaria, a Dutch-based brewer. Two years after the takeover, Bavaria has been re-named Swinkels Family ... [ more ]

The Brewers Of Europe Forum 2018

BRUSSELS - To be authentic is not a competition and neither is it a fashionable attitude. You either are an authentic brewer or you are not. You are driven, you make great beers that have a soul, you have a good story to... [ more ]

Zythos 2018. Watch out… there’s some heritage about!

LEUVEN - 12,500 fans made their way to Leuven for what was already the 15th edition of the Zythos beer festival. Many fans travelled a long way to get to Belgium. They flocked here from many European ... [ more ]

Showcasing the Belgian art of living, Horecatel 2018

MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ more ]

Bruges Beer Festival 2018: your window on the Belgian beer world

BRUGES - Eleven years ago it all started off on quite a modest scale in the medieval town hall of Bruges, under the imposing gaze of the Belfry. Now, in 2018, the Bruges Beer Festival has spread its wings and encompasses... [ more ]

Bacchus_frambozenbier225

More Beer

Bacchus Frambozenbier (Framboise) is similar to Bacchus Kriekenbier as the base for both fruit beers is Bacchus Oud Vlaams Bruin. Fresh raspberries are added to the beer which will... [ more ]

Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup

Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.

Name:
Email:
TWITTER
    FACEBOOK