Belgian Fries Voted
'The Face of Belgium'

Belgian fries might not be at the top of your list when voting for the most typical 'Face of Belgium', but that's exactly what happened in a recent voting contest between the fries, the landmark Atomium structure, the Mannekin Pis and the Belgian praline.

The fry shop or 'Friteur' (in Wallonie) or Frietkot (in Flanders) is a common fixture on the Belgian snack shop landscape. Much like the American hot dog stand or the French crepe shop, frites in Belgium are the perfect appetite quencher - or sometimes even a meal on their own.

The recent poll proved that Belgians love their frites more than other symbols of national pride. The Friteur or Frietkot came first in the competition with an unbeatable 44.85%, followed by the world-famous Atomium (35.41%), the whimsical Manneken Pis (10.95%) and even beat out the decadent Belgian praline (8.78%).

Frite Folklore
According to some sources, Belgians attribute the invention of the fry to those who lived in the Spanish Netherlands as early at 1680. In the area between Dinant and Liege in the Meuse Valley, inhabitants would fry potatoe strips when the river Meuse was frozen and they could not fish.

Another Belgian legend claims that the term "French" was introduced during World War I when Allied soldiers enjoyed the delicacy, but because french was the official language of the Belgian army, they called them 'French fries'.

Chefs have explained that the term 'French fries' came into being because the potatoes were'french cut' - like green beans are 'french cut'.

Some Like'em REALLY Hot!
You can find authentic Belgian frites at sidewalk stands, along 'Pita Alley' near the Grand Place, and in most Belgian restaurants. Frites are always served fresh and hot (very hot!) and often in paper cones with sauce on the side.

Popular sauces are mayonnaise, andalouse and ketchup. Restaurants are also known for serving their own special sauces for frites.

Bon appetit!

Return from Belgian Fries to