Exactly how often do you go to France and see the French eating fries? The answer is…not often. I’ve known this before when I came to Belgium last year but fries belong to the Belgians. But wait, isn’t Belgium supposed to be known for waffles? Well…yes, it is, but only to tourists and foreigners; the locals themselves don’t eat waffles. Surprised? Me too. Apparently, when I went to Brussels last month with my fiancee’s parents, who are locals, they claimed that it was the first time they had ever tried waffles. Huuuh? Seriously??? Yes, seriously.
Fries were only called “French” because during the first world war, when troops from the UK and the US arrived in Belgium, the most common language being spoke was French, thus the misconceiving name.
The Belgians eat fries like Americans eat bacon. Almost everyday if possible. Fritures, where they sell fries, are set up every few blocks in any rural area of Belgium. It’s available everywhere and with the fries, they would serve fried meats, by-products that look like nuggets and corn dogs. Thing is, it’s a bit of a surprise since, if you ask anyone, they wouldn’t know exactly what meat it is.
And of course, who can forget the dips for the fries? Ketchup anyone? Wha-? Ketchup? It’s non existent in the combined taste buds of Belgians. For them, ketchup and fries don’t mix, though of course it’s not ignored completely. Mayonnaise is the way to go! It’s most popular within the Belgian community here which is why when my fiancee visited in Malaysia before, he was shocked to see we ate fries with ketchup. It was alien to him. But it’s not just plain mayo. Most shops provide more flavors for their dips which caters to the customized choices for their customers.
There you have it, some trivia to share the next time you eat fries. Spread the word. It’s a Belgian Fry Revolution!