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Is there a difference between pommes frites and french fries?

  • c

Every time I eat pommes frites, they taste a little different than any other sort of fry I've ever had. Is there any sort of different way that pommes frites are prepared?

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  1. Sure there's a difference- about 6 bucks!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I suspect the difference you may be detecting is the type of fat used, possibly duck fat, and done with the twice fried method.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TongoRad

      french fries are often twice fried

      1. re: thew

        er...pommes frites are often twice fried.... french fries are what McDonald's serves!

        yes, the oil fried in, the prep method and the double fry huge contribute to the difference. Type of potato used..as well.

        pommes souffles are like puffed exquisite tasty chips....Oh I could wax on the potato goodness.

        Micky D's makes French fries; Bourdain makes pommes frites.

        Drats you, now I am craving!

        1. re: Quine

          bourdain might argue with that. he loves a good french fry

          1. re: thew

            Emphasis on good. Names have nothing to do with taste, and a great "french fried pertater" (thank you Billy Bob Thornton) is a thing of beauty no matter what you call it.

            You would hope, though, that somebody who charges premium prices and talks to their spuds in French would make the extra effort to serve a higher-quality product than you might expect at the local fry-o-rama. Of course, if your local fry-o-rama delivers especially good french fries, please don't hold out on us...

            1. re: alanbarnes

              as long as we understand that "pomme fritte" no more guarantees a good well made potato than "french fry" precludes it.
              i mean i might just as easily assume that one who francofies his francofries might do so to gussy up an inferior product.

              1. re: thew

                We're definitely on the same page. I tend to correlate nomenclature and price point, and would be more offended by a bad $6 order of frites than by a bad $1 order of fries. But when it comes right down to it, ignore the name. Bring on the chow.

    2. Fried apples vs potatoes? <grin> Dunno - I always thought pommes frites was what the French call french fries.

      1. Pommes frites = french fries. But someplace that calles them frites instead of fries is, IMHO, more likely to do things a little different. Maybe even better. Now once you have a bunch of mad Belgians opening franchises everywhere and competing on price, all bets are off. But in the meantime...

        First, as noted above, the type of fat matters a lot. A place that has "pommes frites" on the menu is much more likely to be frying them in animal fat (tallow, lard, or, best of all, duck or goose fat). With the accompanying improvement in flavor.

        Another point that's been made is that the double-fry method results in a different texture. Fluffier inside, crispier outside. But it takes extra work, and so is more likely to be found in a place that focuses on quality and can charge a little more for its product.

        Finally, though, there are a few places that age their potatoes before cutting and frying them. And in my limited experience, these places all call their fries "pommes frites" (or even "pommes souffles" if they can consistently get the potato slices to puff up). Regardless of puffiness, though, the aged potatoes have a distinct, more intense flavor than fresh ones.

        When it comes right down to it, though, you can call 'em what you want. Just don't call me late to dinner.

        8 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          Can you elaborate on "aged potatoes". Sounds interesting and maybe worth doing at home?

          1. re: bkhuna

            Exactly what I was thinking BK


            1. re: bkhuna

              There is no secret about "aged" potatoes in crispy FF or PF. Moist potatoes, freshly dug, will not crisp up as much as drier ones. Wouldn't say you have to "age" potatoes like fine wine, or till they sprout and turn green; but, you do want potatoes that are somewhat drier (and older) than newly dug ones. According to James Beard, the best choice is a russet potato.

              1. re: bkhuna

                Just keep your russets in a cool, dark place. They'll shrink a little and the skin will toughen up. If you can peel the skin away with your thumbnail, the potato is still to fresh; if the flesh has gone soft, the potato is too old.

                1. re: bkhuna

                  Aged potatoes sound so much more sophisticated than old potatoes.

                2. re: alanbarnes

                  Ah, alanbarnes, you would love Montreal if only for the fries: omnipresent purveyors of both the French and Belgian styles.

                  Aged potatoes are higher in sugar, hence their sweeter flavour. Quebec fries, especially those used in poutine are limp, greasy, mahogany diet-busters.

                  1. re: mrbozo

                    If AB hasn't had poutine in Montreal, he must hop a plane right now and surender to this devilishy sinister concoction.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      Perhaps. But not every Montréalais likes poutine; I find it a waste of good frites. I prefer the Belgian type.

                3. There are no secrets to this. The difference is that fries are made by someone who has no interest in what he's doing and frites are made by someone who is taking care to try his best at what he's doing.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: yayadave

                    So by extension someone who eats fromage cares about what she's eating, while someone who eats cheese doesn't?

                    1. re: small h

                      Not exactly. But someone who eats cheese cares and somone who eats "semi-dairy cheese food product" doesn't. By extension.

                      1. re: yayadave

                        But frites MEANS fries. Which you know. And I know you know. I'm just trying to figure out whether you mean that calling food by a non-English name means that food is somehow superior. If so, I must respectfully disagree.

                        1. re: small h

                          Of course not. But poor food is prepared by people who don't know or care about what they are doing and good food is prepared by people who do care and, therefore, take the trouble to know. It does not matter if the 'tatters are called fries, frites, or chips, poor ones are prepared by ...

                          And I know that you know that. You're just messin' with me. TeeHee

                          On another current thread, chowhounds are arguing over the relative authenticity of lasagna made in Bologna, Friuli, and Calabria or NYC and New Zealand. All this worrying about semantics. If the lasagna or 'tatters are prepared by someone who cares, just call them "good eats."

                          We should have an "Authentic Chowhound Seal of Approval."

                          1. re: yayadave

                            I worry about semantics the way other people worry about FDA warnings.

                            But there's still no satisfactory answer here to the OP's question. So I'll posit that s/he associates frites with white tablecloths and fries with white paper sacks, and notes - correctly, I think - that things taste different depending on where you eat them. Maybe?

                            1. re: small h

                              Or maybe the OP only eats frites in Paris and only eats fries at TGIFridays.

                              If you want to be punctilious about the words and their meanings, "fries,frites, and chips" all just mean fried potatoes in the context of this thread. Anything beyond that is inference. The inferences add character to language; the inferences add missunderstanding to language.

                              Are we still on chowhound?

                              1. re: yayadave

                                You're 100% right - it all means fried potatoes. Which is why I find the original question so mystifying. Which is better, uni or sea urchin? ZOMG I don't know THEY'RE THE SAME THING!

                                (breathes quietly for a few seconds)

                                So! Does what you call something affect how it tastes? This has probably been covered somewhere.

                  2. People who eat Pomme Frites don't use Ketchup. I personally like good, homemade mayonnaise. Something I pickup up from the Belgian relatives.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: bkhuna

                      Yeah, anything but ketchup, please. I was dipping mine in mayonnaise before I even knew it was all the rage somewhere else! My three favorites, from three different restaurants, are The Hamlet's tartar sauce, the Oinkster's (in Eagle Rock, CA) aioli, and the sour cream/horseradish sauce from a long-defunct steak'n'ribs place in Nashville. Arby's Horsey Sauce ain't bad either, but they don't have either fries or frites!

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        A nice garlicky homemade tzatziki likes fries too.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          In the Nashville days, did anyone ever venture north into Ky, and return with the treasured Frisch's tartar sauce, for the fries?


                          1. re: Will Owen

                            Skinny crisp fries with good ketchup is wonderful. Don't let misplaced disdain for ketchup get in the way.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              sandy, when i saw your post, i thought that i need to rework the "jerry maguire" line, "you had me at bearnaise!"

                              bearnaise with pommes frites. possibly the best combo of food ever! (honestly, there are few peers).

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Hee. (A second "hee" might be redundent)

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Bearnaise is the way to go! Ugh, craving started.

                                  1. re: ForFoodsSake

                                    i know; we're all gonna be porkers for just reading this dang thread again! LOL

                                    food sake, be sure you see that recipe for potatoes lorette near the current end of this thread. wowza.

                              2. re: bkhuna

                                A-1 sauce is good, too, and lower in fat that a nice aioli or mayonnaise, if you need that.

                              3. As alanbarnes has already said...pommes frites (which translates to fried potatoes) = french fries. There is no difference, and any attempt to distinguish between the two is pure nonsense.

                                1. I would agree that pommes frites = french fry in that they are supposed to refer to the same product in different languages, a deep fried piece of potato. But different countries have different traditions, and this likely accounts for differences in taste. Someone who grew up in America eating regularly at McDonalds will have a different experience/cultural norm than someone who grew up in Belgium eating moules et frites. Some of the different traditions have been nicely explained by other posters on this thread. If you go to a region where the tradition is different from where you came from, you will taste this difference.

                                  Now if you are in your own environment, where a french fry is called a french fry, and you come across a resto that calls them "pommes frites", then you have several possible scenarios:

                                  1. You have met a French-speaking restauranteur, and you are about to have a piece of deep-fried potato in the tradition of the region from which the restauranteur hails.

                                  2. You are in a restaurant which specializes in cuisine from a French-speaking region, and you are about to have a piece of deep-fried potato in the tradition of this cuisine.

                                  3. You are in a restaurant that has notions of sophistication and grandeur, and they have decided to use foreign names in an attempt to gussy up their menu.

                                  Options 1 and 2 are what they are. Option 3 can be fine if the fries taste good. But if the resto serves you fries sourced from a major fast food joint, well, that sucks.

                                  I completely agree with some of the other posters that the name used does not guarantee a certain level of quality. I've had my share of crappy pommes frites and crappy french fries. Also had more than my share of good examples of both. (dang you fried potato - why are you so tasty?)

                                  An interesting note: A Quebecois friend of mine mocked me mightily tonight for referring to pommes frites. In Quebec, one refers to these as "patates frites". All the same product! And yet each can be unique...

                                  Edit: I want to make it clear that I grew up thinking that the McDonald french fry was the typical product. Koreans don't eat a tonne of deep-fried potato. I also want to make it clear that I believe the McDonald french fry has its unique charms. When fresh and well-prepared, it can be quite appealing in its own special way. But I also love Belgium-style frites with mayo, and the French pommes frites, and the Quebec patates frites, the roadside diner french fry, etc. Bring on all traditions of deep-fried potato, as long as it is well-prepared.

                                  34 Replies
                                  1. re: moh

                                    Or you could just call them chips, like we do in England!

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Well, unless one were to affect an English accent, I think it would only lead to more confusion. What I find hilarious is that they're called "Pommes Frites" in German, unsurprisingly ... but most Germans shorten that to "Pommes" unlike everyone else (besides the UK) who use a variation on "fries".

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Israelis call them chips as well - so good when in the same pita as felafel and so many delicious vegs.

                                        1. re: TampaAurora

                                          Cool, I figured there must be somewhere else and was hoping someone would correct me.

                                          1. re: tmso

                                            Not trying to step on toes, just showing pride.

                                      2. re: moh

                                        how about a french person who grew up eating mcdonalds vs an american who never eats at mcdonalds and only ate good fries?

                                        generalizations sometimes make me itch

                                        1. re: thew

                                          I wasn't trying to make generalizations, they were examples. I did consider giving exactly these examples, but had already typed out everything and was too lazy to change. Your point is taken. Calamine lotion is in the cupboard...

                                          1. re: thew

                                            If we're going to generalise, shouldn't the French person be eating at Quick? Belgians are far more likely to have eaten a cornet de frites (from a frite kot or some such) which can be good or bad, but in that case, one is not likely to have only eaten at McDonalds or Quick.
                                            I don't think anyone is lucky enough to have eaten ONLY good fries. Would that I were so lucky. This has little to do with fast food establishments, too.

                                            1. re: thew

                                              In the 60's or 70's Chef Paul Bocuse was visiting the USA He declared he needed breakfast; where shall we go?" The person he was with looked around. Nothing was open except McDonald's. she tried to explain that McDonald's, which had not as yet invaded France, was a fast-food chain, and there wasn't much he would like.
                                              "Let's go there; it is fine," and so to McDonald's they went, followed by the press.
                                              As they sat down, She explained to Paul what was on the menu. "you can have a muffin with egg and cheese, or ham."
                                              " 'Muffin' ? Qu'est-ce que c'est 'muffin' ? "
                                              She explained, and Paul chose the muffin with eggs and ham and french fries. Paul ate the eggs with gusto, thought the coffee was too weak, but announced loudly that "These are the best french fries I have ever eaten. I want to meet the chef."
                                              "But Paul, this is a fast-food restaurant: there is no chef."
                                              "Nonsense, Colette. Every kitchen has a chef!"
                                              With these words, Paul got up and walked over to the counter where a young black man was standing, waiting to receive orders. To his astonishment and amidst flashes by photographers, Paul insisted on shaking his hand and saying over and over again, "Bravo, jeune homme. Les meilleures Frites que j'ai jamais mangees. Traduisez, Colette."
                                              There were large headlines that evening in the papers, "Paul Bocuse eats the world's best French fries in New York at McDonald's."
                                              Things were a bit different then.

                                                1. re: porker

                                                  If it was before there were any McDonalds in France, then it was probably also while McDonalds was still frying them in beef fat.

                                                2. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                  mickey d's is not serving fries with breakfast, but the hash browns. so how did bocuse get fries?

                                                  i see the story is from colette http://www.superchefblog.com/2006/09/...
                                                  but i don't believe it. in high school, we always were dying for the changeover from breakfast to regular menu at mickey d's and bk. so we could get fries!

                                                  1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                    bocuse will now serve fries. as the article says, what took him so long after his mickey d's epiphany? http://www.superchefblog.com/2008/07/...

                                                    are there any new york hounds who remember the story about bocuse and the fries in the local headlines? did your mickey d's serve fries with breakfast, or is this colette playing with poetic license?

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Long ago in a galaxy far way things were different - google why do McDonalds fries taste good and you will find the following ---
                                                      -- fries are much more profitable than hamburgers -- and was long praised by customers, competitors, and even food critics. James Beard loved McDonald's fries. Their distinctive taste does not stem from the kind of potatoes that McDonald's buys, the technology that processes them, or the restaurant equipment that fries them: other chains use Russet Burbanks, buy their french fries from the same large processing companies, and have similar fryers in their restaurant kitchens. The taste of a french fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades McDonald's cooked its french fries in a mixture of about seven percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor -- and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger.
                                                      In 1990, amid a barrage of criticism over the amount of cholesterol in its fries, McDonald's switched to pure vegetable oil. This presented the company with a challenge: how to make fries that subtly taste like beef without cooking them in beef tallow. A look at the ingredients in McDonald's french fries suggests how the problem was solved. Toward the end of the list is a seemingly innocuous yet oddly mysterious phrase: "natural flavor." That ingredient helps to explain not only why the fries taste so good but also why most fast food -- indeed, most of the food Americans eat today -- tastes the way it does.
                                                      McDonalds was later sued by hindus and vegetarians for using beef flavoring while calling the fries vegetarian. Don't lie to people it's bad for your karma.

                                                      1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                        I HATE McDo frites - they are pale, tasteless things. I tend to avoid fast-food chain in any event but sometimes when travelling on the road there is nothing else. Seems to me some of the others do have fries more worthy of the name.

                                                        Am looking forward to getting some rendered duck fat (easily found here, but not cheap) to serve duck-fat frites as a treat for (non-vegetarian) friends. I guess I should ask if one can mix duck fat and peanut or grapeseed oil on the home cooking board, eh?

                                                        1. re: lagatta

                                                          Please do not mis understand my feeling Mickey D is the ultimate in crap. Just sounds like ONCE they had good fries. I USED to have washboard abs. So much for Once

                                                        2. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                          i am familiar with the history of mickey d's fries. my problem with the bocuse story is that mickey d's does not serve fries until *after* breakfast. thus, bocuse could not have had a mcmuffin and fries together (unless they made a special batch for him, which i doubt).

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            The story is probably apocryphal. However, if Paul Bocuse really did eat at McD's, they would have made him anything he wanted and, indeed, arranged a photo op :-)

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                If Paul Bocuse, perhaps the most respected chef in the world shows up in your restaurant you cook him anything he wants.


                                                                1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                  isn't it ironic that oj's lawyers are all dying off and he is still running around.

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    What I find ironic? No fries for breakfast at McDonalds but all the OJ you can drink. Accident? I don't think so!

                                                          2. re: alkapal

                                                            McD started serving breakfasts sometime around 1972/73 with the introduction of the Egg McMuffin. (About the time I was in High School)
                                                            Before that and for awhile afterward you could get a burger and fries any time during open hours.

                                                            1. re: hannaone

                                                              I'm pretty sure that at least in some places fries were still available all times of day during the late 70's and maybe early 80's. I remember on vacation everyone in my family eating McMuffins for breakfast and for some reason I insisted on eating only french fries.

                                                        3. re: moh

                                                          Just like how you like chapaghetti, I have a special affinity for McDonalds french fries -- especially when they used to be fried in beef tallow. Those were sooooo good!

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            Those were the days! Beef fat is just so right. I still like McDonald's fries, but they were better before they switched to vegetable oil.

                                                            It's so funny, my mother is am amazing Korean cook. But McD french fries were so exotic compared to all the Korean food I ate as a child! I still associate them with special occasions as a result. I don't eat them very much anymore, but when I do, there is much nostalgia.

                                                          2. re: moh

                                                            Pretty much nailed it, moh.

                                                            My humble additions:

                                                            Yes, pomme frites is the French <language> equivalent of french fries. It comes from the France-French word for potato, 'pomme de terre' (apple of the earth...hey it was only introduced 500 years ago, so they had to call it something, right...).
                                                            As our Quebecois friends will say, pooh pooh on pomme de terre, we call 'em patate (Quebec-French for potato...), and so patate frite (fried potato, or french fries)
                                                            So if you ask for a 'patate frite' in France, they'll consider you a heathen from the colonies...
                                                            Ask for a pomme frite in Quebec, they'll think you're a duma$$ english speaking person, or if you get the accent right, a duma$$ hoity toity guy from France...

                                                            One item I was surprised to find left out of this thread is the frozen vs fresh fries.
                                                            As many people concur, if a joint is calling their fries "pommes frites", they should go the extra distance to provide a superior product. In classical cooking, I would assume this would mean house cut, house cooked fries.

                                                            As such, in a North American setting, I think calling a previously frozen fry a 'pomme frite' would be misleading.

                                                            I find frozen fries are almost standard for many, many casual restaurants, and probably the vast majority of chain restaurants.
                                                            With that said, could it be that people are so accepting of the pre-cooked, pre-frozen fry, that when they try a 'pomme frite', that is most likely, a hand cut, in-house blanched, and in-house finished fry, that they're blown away?

                                                            1. re: porker

                                                              Porker, your point about frozen vs. fresh fries is an important one. I would agree that calling a pre-cooked pre-frozen fry a pomme frite here in English North America would be really pretentious and as you say, misleading. And in Quebec, you would indeed be seen as a duma$$.

                                                              Now, I don't mind pre-cooked pre-frozen fries. The fact is freshly fried potato is by nature a tasty yummy treat, and this includes the industrialized fries. Unfortunately for my diet, I can eat them no problem. But I must say, a well-done hand-cut in-house blanched then fried a second time french fry/pommes frites/chip reaches heights that astronauts dream of.

                                                              (goodness now I want a fry)

                                                            2. re: moh

                                                              ...McDonald french fry has its unique charms. When fresh and well-prepared, it can be quite appealing in its own special way.
                                                              Indeed moh. In fact Ferdinand Metz, former President of the Culinary Institute of America, thought that the McD's fry was a superior example of the thin, crispy style of french fry.

                                                              1. re: kmcarr

                                                                Yes - many years ago when they were cut in house and fried in beef fat. That was then.

                                                                1. re: embee

                                                                  "cut in house"?
                                                                  you have to be going to the pre big mac era.

                                                                  1. re: byrd

                                                                    Can't say for sure, but I believe Big Mac was late sixties, so possibly. Actually, I'll admit that those fries tasted good well into the frozen fry era. My understanding is that, here in Ontario, the frying fat still contains some beef component, but those fries have never been the same since they stopped using real beef fat.

                                                              2. re: moh

                                                                Both the French person and the Québécois person would be perfectly happy simply calling them "frites" though.

                                                              3. They are called chips where I come from!! Nothing like a chip butty if you are a Northerner - something we Southerners cannot comprehend.

                                                                16 Replies
                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  Are you talking Northern England? I remember chip butties! They weren't half bad...

                                                                  That would make a great poster, chip/french fry written all different languages. Although I would buy a "fried chicken" poster first...

                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                    Although "french fries" are creeping in - usually referring to the very thin, French-style variety (or the ones from Macdonalds).

                                                                    I used to like a chip butty myself....

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      I had never heard of a chip butty (I thought it was chip buddy) until Paula Deen went to London. I can't imagine eating one, although I like chips and I like toast.

                                                                      In any case, is it possible that the original poster (waaaaaay back at the beginning) is eating pommes fried in either fresh oil, or a particular kind of oil?

                                                                      1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                        Londoners do NOT eat chip butties - it's a northern thing

                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                          Well yes, but what's a Londoner? There are hundreds of thousands of former Northerners living in London (I'm one of them).

                                                                          And in Manchester it's a chip barm, not a butty.

                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                            well it has to be said in a Northern accent - preferably Yorkshire - by us Londoners.

                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                              So what's a "chip barm" and a "chip butty" for the folks on the "French fry" side of the pond?

                                                                                1. re: mrbozo

                                                                                  Does a french fry sandwich become a pommes frites sandwich once the price doubles, or does that depend on whether or not it includes a side salad?

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                    The French would never sully a menu with such a vulgar item. Pass the steak tartare please.

                                                                                2. re: yayadave

                                                                                  A butty is a sandwich and a barm is a large floury roll - with french fries. The bread is generally buttered, just in case there wasn't enough fat in there already!

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    You know, there really isn't such a thing as enough fat....

                                                                                    I think the people on the "french fry" side of the pond who eat butties and barms are expats from Great Britain, so I suspect the name is the same. I have never seen an establishment offer french fry sandwiches.

                                                                                    1. re: moh

                                                                                      A California burrito, on the other hand--papas fritas and carne asada--isn't quite so pure a carbohydrate bomb, but certainly not far off. Just goes to show that french fries are universal and multilingual.

                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                        There's also the felafel on laffa with hummous and chips. Carbo bomb, sure, but there's just something so right about it.

                                                                                        1. re: TongoRad

                                                                                          I used to like chips in pitta bread with spicy tomato relish when I was at university. It was the ideal late-night, post-essay (or pub) snack!

                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            When I lived in Greece, all gyros and souvlaki stuffed pita came crammed full of french fries. And the pita was heated by total emersion in boiling olive oil. At least that's how it was done on the Peloponnesus. Don't recall ever having one on the mainland, or if I did, I don't remember anything being markedly different. All heart healthy, right...? '-).

                                                                      2. Really strange: papas fritas from a McDonald's in Colombia taste just like French fries from a McDonald's in the US! How can this be????

                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                          Funny, the pommes frites in McDonald's in France taste like the US French fries as well. Especially funny because that's probably the only thing on the menu that isn't changed! (<-- admittedly this latter is more conjecture than experience)

                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            However the french fries from a Korean McD have a roasted sesame flavor, and are served with kimchi seasoning.

                                                                            1. re: hannaone

                                                                              Wow! I have to get myself to a McD's when I go to Korea!

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                  Seems like I see a Mickey D's anywhere I go that I need a passport. Makes me shudder. Maybe I'll have to give them a try, where ever, just in the interest of investigation.

                                                                                  Korea seems unlikely, but I won't say "never." It seems that just about the time I say "never," the planets get re-arranged and, guess what.

                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                    And get a bulgogi burger too! ( the hot dogs are tough and stringy bushen tang)

                                                                                2. re: hannaone

                                                                                  Add me to the list of those who will have to visit a McD's when in Korea again...

                                                                                  Hannaone, is the kimchi seasoning on the fry or is it served like a ketchup-like substance?

                                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                                    I've seen pics of the Korean McD's fries -- don't see any red powder. So perhaps it's the dipping sauce.

                                                                                    This website was really interesting -- it describes some of the different menu items from McD's all around the world. I want to try a rice burger, curry french fries, a Maharaja Mac, McAloo tiki burger, and a McKofta!


                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                        Heck, even the Bulgogi sandwich sounds intriguing!

                                                                                      2. re: moh

                                                                                        When I was last there, it was served in a sprinkle pack like the crushed red pepper packets you get with pizza take out.

                                                                                        And remember folks, this was twenty plus years ago when Americanization was just beginning to pick up speed, so things may have changed somewhat

                                                                                  2. I've never had a fat frite in France; that, to me, is the difference. French fires here in the States can be quite large. In France, they are always (IME) slender. And very crisp. And not served with ketchup.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                      The difference does seem to be size, and how that affects flavor.

                                                                                      It seems like pommes frites connotes long, slender fries, and in no way could the fatter, wider, crinkle-cut fries be considered frites.

                                                                                      Which also means a slight flavor difference from the thinner width -- a greater crispiness in texture per bite and proportionately less pototo "doughiness" in the center.

                                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                        i think "french fries" does not connote anything about the size whatsoever

                                                                                        and i had some pretty thick ones called pomme frites and frites in europe

                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                          >>and i had some pretty thick ones called pomme frites and frites in europe<<

                                                                                          All the pommes frites or frites I've ever had in Europe (living there, traveling there many, many times) were always the skinny, long variety --or they were called something else.

                                                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                            Strange. Frites do come in all manner of shapes and sizes, though. Certainly in France and Germany, anyhow.

                                                                                        2. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                          Yes, for me, all pomme frites are french fries but not all french fries are pomme frites. I expect pomme frite to denote a certain thickness, just as I expect a Belgian fry to have a certain thickness. I've had bad pomme frites, though, so I'm not necessarily banking on quality. However, at least I'd expect that pomme frites would not look like steak-cut fries or shoestring friends.

                                                                                        1. Wait a minute, where's cor to expound on the original question and settle some of ours?

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                            I'm afraid there's not much to expound on. I suppose that most times I have had "pommes frites", I have been in a brasserie or upscale restaurant or in France. I do eat a fair amount of french fries as well (not just from a bag or fast food restaurant or whatever!). There has usually seemed to be a taste difference between frites/fries. Maybe, as another poster said, the frites were in duck fat and/or twice fried??

                                                                                            I hope that helps.

                                                                                            1. re: cor

                                                                                              Twice fried in tallow or duck fat helps indeed, as does using aged patates. Take it from a Montrealer who loves his frites and poutine.

                                                                                              1. re: cor

                                                                                                You know I was only kidding ;-)

                                                                                            2. After giving careful consideration to all the responses here on this thread. After carefully weighing each and every argument. After mulling, chewing, debating, consternating and fretting. After giving all possible credence to everyones opinion.....

                                                                                              I have to say, the first line of the first response to this post by TongoRad is the closest thing I can find to the correct answer.



                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                Agree strongly. I find it amazing that so many people have spent so much energy in trying to distinguish two items which by definition are the same. That is not to say that there are aren't a zillion different ways that potatoes can be fried. But to try to distinguish between pommes frites and french fries (which are defined as fried potatoes) is ludicrous.

                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                  Hey, "i'm lovin' it"
                                                                                                  I agree that it's amazing there are 58 posts on the difference between 2 food items which are in fact really the same thing - deep fried sticks of potatoes. But this is Chowhound filled with Chowhounds who love talkin about & weighing in on the endless topics about food. And what better, more loved food is there than french fries. That reminds me. How come chocolate covered french fries are not widely available? Or better yet, chocolate coated bacon wrapped french fries? Hmm, I wonder if there's still time to get a food booth at the state fair.
                                                                                                  Next topic - Do you say potato or do you say potahto, and what's the difference? Followed of course by- Do you say tomato or do you say tomahto, and what's the difference?

                                                                                              2. Just wondering...if you get fried potatoes with your Big Mac at one of the many McDonald's in Paris...are they french fries or pommes frites?

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                  In Paris McDonald's serves Pommes Frites and they are exactly like they are here except for the name. Just proves that French Fries = Pommes Frites, the only difference is the language!

                                                                                                  1. re: Msradell

                                                                                                    Thank you for proving how unbelievably nonsensical this entire thread is!

                                                                                                    1. re: Msradell

                                                                                                      wait, wait, johnnie c. here with a question for the witness msradell.

                                                                                                      do they use the same fat in paris mcdonald's as they do here? hmmmmmm? <asked with upward inflection>

                                                                                                  2. The best in the world, in Belgium, France, and Germany, are made from the bintje potato, which is irreplaceable in terms of taste and crunchiness. They are not grown anywhere else.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: mastercook

                                                                                                      maybe they are… just perhaps not commercially? http://freshdirt.sunset.com/2010/08/p...

                                                                                                      oh, yes commercially -- just not so much in america: >>>""Today Bintje potatoes are the most widely grown yellow-fleshed potato in the world. Farmers appreciate Bintje’s productivity and its tolerance to a wide range of soils. Commercial produce firms like Bintje for its storage ability and its good looks. Even on close inspection a Bintje is smooth and well rounded. Plus its skin has a silk-like finish. But where Bintje truly excels is in the kitchen. Its starch solid content of ~20% puts it in the middle of the ‘wax vs flour’ spectrum and thus they can play either role. And most important is that the flavor of a Bintje is exceptional. Some describe it as having a unique light, nut-like flavor. I don’t taste that note but I agree that it is an exceptional spud.

                                                                                                      Despite Bintje’s world-wide reputation it is largely unknown in America. Much of that may be due to America’s long-standing “potato color barrier.”<<<< http://vegetablesofinterest.typepad.c...

                                                                                                      are they similar to creamy yukon golds? the linked blogger thinks the flavor of yukons is lacking….

                                                                                                    2. I'll suppose there be differences
                                                                                                      from frites and from fries.

                                                                                                      Though a good dose of mayo,
                                                                                                      ameliorates, not decries.

                                                                                                      It is pure function of physics in action...
                                                                                                      of oil, sending heat,
                                                                                                      of types of them taters...

                                                                                                      But all that aside,
                                                                                                      in discussion of whether
                                                                                                      it be pommes, fried to their frites,
                                                                                                      Or more simple
                                                                                                      Pertaters made fries...

                                                                                                      I believe it a question
                                                                                                      Best answered in Belgium

                                                                                                      Let us find us a place
                                                                                                      that allows us a stroll
                                                                                                      and serves them up hot
                                                                                                      with abundance and redolence of copious Mayo.

                                                                                                      There must be such a place
                                                                                                      in the Fry-dom
                                                                                                      of Belgium

                                                                                                      To answer the question
                                                                                                      twixt the frites and the fries.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                        i'm game! who doesn't like potatoes?

                                                                                                        i want to try that "cold oil to start" method by joel robuchon!


                                                                                                      2. In a word, NO! Pommes frites means fried potatoes, precisely what French fries are. Although there are differences between how some French and Americans fry potatoes, the same could be said about McDonald's and In 'n Out!

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                            Oh, the humanity! Those fries are an insult to Belgian frites and the recipe is redonkulous.

                                                                                                            i think the difference is a matter of point of view. French fries and pommes frites are the same thing in two different languages. How they are prepared is another thing. I mean, what's the difference between pommes frites and patatas fritas?

                                                                                                            I don't why people poo-poo McDonald's fries. They are pretty good and a better than half decent rendition of a French pomme-alummette.

                                                                                                            1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                              Years ago when McDonald's fries were made from fat, potatoes, and salt, they were very, very good. When they turned them into a chemistry experiment, they still tasted good when piping hot, but let them get even lukewarm and they were vaguely icky. After eating them, I don't feel quite perfectly well. Not that I bother any more.

                                                                                                        1. To answer the OP's question. Yes, about $6.
                                                                                                          *rim shot*

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                              monavano...you got me! This is the difference I totally missed!!

                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                Hate to break it to ya, but it was covered in the very first response (rimshot and all) :P

                                                                                                                Amazingly, the answer is still $6, 3+ years later. I guess inflation hasn't been as bad as we were led to believe. ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: TongoRad

                                                                                                                  oh…and it was YOUR rimshot. LOL

                                                                                                              2. A pome is an apple
                                                                                                                and thus by appelation
                                                                                                                becomes kin to the tater
                                                                                                                who grows under ground

                                                                                                                A frite is a fry
                                                                                                                of that underground guy
                                                                                                                his proud perch of starch,
                                                                                                                his sizzle in oil.

                                                                                                                I give not one tweat
                                                                                                                as to what be the fries
                                                                                                                and what be the frites.

                                                                                                                Just as long as you serve them
                                                                                                                with salt pepper and Mayo.

                                                                                                                1. The best French fries or pommes frites are not French, but Belgian. in my opinion.

                                                                                                                  Lots of interesting stuff here:


                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. When I saw the title of this thread I was reminded of my then toddler - daughter who really loved Zwiebeln but couldn't stand Onions....

                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                      maybe you might explain that, RUK.

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        They are the same. Zwiebeln is the German word for Onions! She simply assigned a specific taste to Zwiebeln, and different taste to Onions. Perhaps I browned one of them more than the other and we were/are somewhat bilingual.

                                                                                                                        1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                          yes, i had looked up zwiebein, so that's why i wanted to know what you meant. so your point is that "they are the same dang thing, pommes frites and french fries."

                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                            I would certainly think they are!! Btw the Germans also call those potato thingies Pommes frites

                                                                                                                            1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                              nah, just pommes. pronounced pomm-ess. rot-weiss, versteht sich '-)

                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                Heh, thanks for the correction. :-)
                                                                                                                                I guess I am nowadays somewhat removed ( living in the USA )... but many years ago that's what we called them - truly, living in Koeln and Wiesbaden.

                                                                                                                              2. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                yeah, i always thought they were the same thing. of course those freedom fries are a whole different animal. LOL

                                                                                                                                but do the pommes frites ever get the "crinkle fries" cut? hmmm, i'm getting a strange craving for some extra crispy and a little greasy tater tots right now.

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  Absolvement for rangement into land of the Crinkle Cuts,
                                                                                                                                  most mysterious of machined of the taters.

                                                                                                                                  And also to Tater Tots.
                                                                                                                                  Shall we again give haul of the burgeon
                                                                                                                                  of phrase of "taters machined".

                                                                                                                                  May always be goodness of Hotness of Tots.
                                                                                                                                  or, for that matter,
                                                                                                                                  any fry or a frite
                                                                                                                                  of goodness of taters.

                                                                                                                      2. I like fries and I like frites, just the same potatoes
                                                                                                                        I like rosti and hash browns too, I just like potatoes
                                                                                                                        My ol’ man even called my first truuuu love “Potato Head”


                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                          It was good to been raised with the fry of the taters.

                                                                                                                          So crisp was the gift of the rostis.

                                                                                                                          So nubile a nugget
                                                                                                                          of soft and of crisp
                                                                                                                          were the magic
                                                                                                                          of hot fresh Tater Tots.

                                                                                                                          Were we to array, as cards spread on table,
                                                                                                                          the various types of the frites and the fries,
                                                                                                                          all would come down to sameness at center
                                                                                                                          of hotness of oil bematched with a tater.

                                                                                                                          1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                            he yaya!

                                                                                                                            i know that every time i go out to eat, it is the tater that gets first peck.

                                                                                                                            a study found most diners take their first bite from the potato on the plate, even when the plate is full of other good stuff.

                                                                                                                          2. We have potato pancakes and we have latkes, same ting
                                                                                                                            put potatoes in your ravioli, they become pirogi, new country
                                                                                                                            Add cooked fish to your mash to make fried fish cakes, now it’s dinner


                                                                                                                            1. hot crispy yummy potato cravers, did you see this "old" recipe? http://www.chow.com/recipes/30232-pom...

                                                                                                                              talk about delicious!

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                  it is the best of both worlds, fried dough and taters.

                                                                                                                                  i'm enjoying that series of recipes from the past, too -- "Epic Christmas Feast: Lost Recipes of the Grand Hotels." http://www.chow.com/food-news/98153/e...

                                                                                                                              1. Is there a difference between "pomme" and "apple", between "lait" and "milk", between "fromage" and "cheese" on and on.

                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                                  That was discussed further upthread. Not singling you out specifically, but I find it disrespectful to other participants in a thread not to read theirs before adding one's own reply.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                    Good lord, this thread is long and OLD and sometimes its easy to skip over a response or two?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, "its (sic) easy to skip over a response or two," but it does a thread no service to lengthen it with redundancy.

                                                                                                                                      the person who initially pointed out the cheese/fromage thing (thanks, greygarious, even if you weren't referring to my post)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                        french fry foodie fight!


                                                                                                                                        ding ding, back to your corners.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          Hah! We're currently accepting applications for referees, ring girls, and announcers. Care to audition?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                            yeah… who gets to decide the frying oil?

                                                                                                                                            'fry-girl" -- you didn't mention that one…."i got yer peanut oil, right here….."

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                              But, remember that Julia, told tales of tall praise, of taters fried up by McDonalds, back in the era, where they fried with beef tallow?

                                                                                                                                              Issues of frites, and of others, often come down the choice of the oil.

                                                                                                                                              Bubble of butter? High heat of peanut? Richness of tallow?

                                                                                                                                              But oil is only just one of the things to consider, as we fry up our frites from our kitchens... such as what is our choice of the size of our slices?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                ah…because we all know…size matters.

                                                                                                                                                um, in potato frying, of course!

                                                                                                                                                tater tots -- i can dredge through anything, from a chili sauce to bearnaise
                                                                                                                                                medium wedges with skin on (steak fries, or their cousin, english chips) -- i like malt vinegar or ketchup
                                                                                                                                                skinny fries -- i like aioli
                                                                                                                                                crinkle fries….well, i'm not a fan.

                                                                                                                                                and the fries in the photo below, from virtue feed & grain in old town alexandria virginia -- i'd be very happy to dip them into that egg yolk and follow with a bite of sausage! the fries look darn near perfect. well, the whole plate looks perfect, in fact.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                    i'd also be happy to eat french fries eggs benedict…well, a totally twisted eggs "benedict."

                                                                                                                                                    i'm thinking of a pile of extra crispy medium cut fries, with some small pieces of freshly-made spicy country sausage, poached eggs and hollandaise. i'm sure that is not original in the least, but i know i could tuck in!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      Pretty picture, them taters.

                                                                                                                                                      Who would have known
                                                                                                                                                      that up there, old Virginia,
                                                                                                                                                      they could give such a shimmer be-fried
                                                                                                                                                      to so simple a tuber?

                                                                                                                                                      But giving supposement
                                                                                                                                                      that tuber has traveled
                                                                                                                                                      to places of worldwide...

                                                                                                                                                      Let now give us feast
                                                                                                                                                      to our frites and our fries,
                                                                                                                                                      in each our own places
                                                                                                                                                      we becall own Virginia

                                                                                                                                                      Such gift be so simple
                                                                                                                                                      as they rumble and roil
                                                                                                                                                      in our own choice of oil,
                                                                                                                                                      tumble of taters.

                                                                                                                                                      When done, such a shimmer,
                                                                                                                                                      shines forth from their crispness,
                                                                                                                                                      such beckon to ingestion,

                                                                                                                                                      As our own take upon taters
                                                                                                                                                      is somehow becoupled
                                                                                                                                                      of each our Virginia.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                      And also the schmaltz
                                                                                                                                      that was rendered from skins of the chickens
                                                                                                                                      then given a kiss of the onion.

                                                                                                                                      That be a fat
                                                                                                                                      that gives a good fry
                                                                                                                                      to a batch of the taters.

                                                                                                                                    2. I used to do the double fry method. Recently I watched AMT. They said quote: "We've been wrong about demonstrating how to make the best french fries ie double frying them. This is our new and improved method". Slice russet potatoes into about 5/16ths. Wash in cold water. Pat dry. Dredge in a light sprinkling of corn starch. Put in room temperature peanut oil. bring to a rolling boil. DON'T play with the fries at this point. Watch until fries are golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with pinch of salt and serve. I've followed this method about twenty times and every time the fries have been excellent. They said that no way could the peanut oil displace the water in the fries and they were right.