Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Dutch Treats

They say the best French fries can't be found in France, but rather in Belgium. I've never been to Belgium (except passing through on a train) but I can tell you the best fries I've ever had were from a snack stand in Rotterdam. I was visiting my sister's in-laws, who are Dutch, and live in the bucolic town of Papendrecht, southeast of Rotterdam. I sampled the local fare, including deep-fried croquettes stuffed with a sausage paste, Frikandel (deep-fried sausage), and Saucijzenbroodje (pastry stuffed with sausage and probably deep-fried). Yes, it was a real Saucij-fest. But what stood out clearly were the fries, or Patat, as they call it. They're medium-sized (larger than the ones at McDonald's), with a golden-crisp exterior and a white, tender interior, piping hot. Of course it came with mayonnaise--but in their defense, it was more like Miracle Whip. And yes, it was delicious.


arrScott said...

Patat just means "potato." Frites is what you'd ask for if you want fries. Signs often advertise Patat Frites, which just means "potato fries." You'll also see signs for Vlaamse frites, which means "Flemish fries." You won't get better fries in Belgium, but in the Flemish areas you'll find fries just as good as in the Netherlands.

Mayo can be hit and miss if you ask for it by that name - pronounce it "MY-oh-NICE-uh" or watch people stare at you blankly - but Fritesaus gets you the good stuff, like mayo but a little sweeter. Miracle Whip is a good analogy, but Fritesaus is less cloying. Except at McDonald's, where asking for Fritesaus gets you a disgusting variety of tartar sauce.

The mark of a true Frites fanatic is the ability to dip and eat one's fries with the pinky-sized plastic fork street vendors provide.

Anonymous said...

Belgian fries are better because they're fried in horse fat.

MeTooThen said...

Tough call, this.

I was about to say with confidence that the best fries I ever had were in Brussels, but after the horse fat info, I will change my vote and elect those I enjoyed in Amsterdam.

And yes, they are that good.

miklos rosza said...

My wife is from Avignon, and when I sought to tease her about McDonalds popularity in France she insisted, quite seriously, that the McDonalds in France are superior to those in the US.

The best fast food either of us have had, though, was at a Dairy Queen on the highway to Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast, run by a Vietnamese man.

Anonymous said...


As I'm one of the so-called in-laws of Vic's sister, I want to give my opinion about the word "Patat". As the word is not used in the English vocabulary, it must be a typical Dutch word. (Belgium used to be Dutch a long time ago, so they can't say it's THEIR word. Maybe this is the reason we're now separated ;) )

Anyhow, "Patates frites" literally means "In hot oil boiled strips of potato".

But, as we as 'Dutchies' always are in a hurry, we just shorten this to "Patat".

About the Difference between Mayonaise and Fritessaus;
Err, no, i'm not even thinking about starting...

I hope we all can enjoy our bag of Dutch, Belgian, English, French or grandma's fries one day!

Ps: "The Netherlands" is plural.
Holland and Belgium was 1 country.
In 1830 there was the 'rise of the Belgian people' and from that moment, two separate Countries called The Netherlands and Belgium were created.

Anonymous said...

Horse fat ?????

As a 100% Belgian I can assure you all that is an absolute load of...

The real Belgian Fries are fried (twice) in vegetable oil.

And about the Dutch 'fritesaus' I can only say: OK, if they don't have any mayonaise...

For those of you passing through Belgium: come to Antwerp and get the best fries in the world at Frituur Number 1 next to the townhall at De Grote Markt !

Agagooga said...

"Patat" means fries actually. "Aardappel(en)" is potatoes.

I'd describe Fritesaus as mayonnaise but less sour and with less fat.

Damn, I miss Frites Speciaal...

Chuckie said...

On the Patat issue, don't know how it translates but it seems to be mainly used in the Randstadt area (Den Haag, Rotterdam, Amsterdam) as I never noticed it in the south, where frites seems to be the preffered namelclature. One way or the other, one has to say, the finest possible snack food. Particularly in view of fritesaus, ambrosia of the gods.
On the issue of the McDonald's sauce, I thinks it's great, not a patch on the real stuff, but a nice tacky alternative.
Finally, the nicest frites/fritesaus I've ever sampled is in a little café in a place called Horst-Melderslo, near Venlo. If you're ever passing it, and I can't in anyway imagine why you ever would be, check it out. - An Irishman's perspctive!