HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Vinegar on Fries...a dying tradition

  • 230
  • Share

When I was a kid, born in 1956, everyone I knew had white vinegar on french fries. This was in North Bay, Ontario. I know live in Western Canada and this Canadian and maybe British tradition seems to be dying out. Yes you can still get vinegar packs at the usual fast food places, but you now have to ask for them, they are not out with the other condiments. Why is this tradition fading?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I've only very rarely done white vinegar on fries. If using vinegar with my fries I almost always choose malt vinegar, and malt is probably the condiment I use most frequently with fries. Still, I usually have to request the bottle, and none of my most frequent dining companions share my affinity.

    17 Replies
    1. re: MonMauler

      Yep - malt vinegar on good fries is a thing of beauty.

      1. re: MonMauler

        +1 on the malt vinegar.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          +1 as well. Like it on the fish too :-)

          1. re: Janet from Richmond

            And on hash browns, home fries, and even roasted potatoes.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              That makes me want to experiment with mashed potatoes and vinegar.

              1. re: FoodPopulist

                I drizzle malt vinegar and evoo on pureed lima beans.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I learned to love it as a young anglophile growing up in America, and it's usually hard to find when eating out. But I'm in heaven when traveling to the UK or Ireland - malt vinegar with all the chips :)

                  1. re: GreenDragon

                    The only reason to have fish & chips is malt vinegar

                    1. re: Kalivs

                      The only reason to have fries for me is malt vinegar, love the stuff.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    ipsed-yummmm

              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                +2

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  +1.

                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                    Janet-me too on fish

                2. re: MonMauler

                  Could someone turn me on to a really great malt vinegar. I love it on fish and chips but can't seem to find a good brand.

                  1. re: miss_msry

                    Depending on where you live. If there is a Long John Silver's close by, they have a great malt vinegar and they sell it by the bottle. Of course, I am a little jaded because I've eaten at LJS my whole life.

                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                      Not yet.

                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                        LJS was the first to introduce me to malt vinegar. And probably the only place I eat it.

                  2. I've never had vinegar on fries, and have only actually *seen* someone use vinegar on fries. It was malt vinegar for fish and chips. And as for vinegar packets.... never seen those, huh.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: kubasd

                      I've seen them in places that serve boardwalk style fries.

                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        This is usually a Canadian thing, not an American thing. I have been know to bring packs of vinegar when travelling.

                        1. re: golfer1

                          I knew it as a British thing, but seemed to have introduced it to Gulfport, Mississippi.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            I'm with you..I elarned it as malt vinegar on chips in London in the 1960's and have loved it ever since. Once in awhile I do it Louisiana and an Englishman who teaches at LSU used to keep a bottle available to aid lousy fries or even good ones.

                            BTW, I meant to respond to your spekaing about lunch or dinner in July..I am likely to be out of town.., Mendicino coast, in fact. But we'll try, maybe in cooler climes. It would be fun.

                            1. re: hazelhurst

                              For me, it was about 1963. I do not recall now, where I first encountered it, but at Elsie's on Cowan Rd., Handsboro (now Gulfport) Mississippi, I wanted it, so bought the vinegar, and had it stored below the bar. When it would get low, I would buy another bottle. I hope that others used MY vinegar, but it elevated, already great fries, to a whole new level.

                              I did similar, at Frank's Deli on Decatur St. with spicy mustard - usually Guldan's, for the RB po-boys. I shared that too, and replaced, as was necessary. Back then, I had to go to Dorignac's, to get Guldan's.

                              As for the gathering. We are in San Francisco, from July 08 - 09, but have a business dinner on 07/09 with Adobe Software.

                              We'll be back there at least once per month, through 2012.

                              How about London in October, or Paris in late Oct/early Nov?

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                You're gonna make me bone up on my French? October in paris is appealling. Of course, London ANYtime is appealling. Let me slog through the summer and see if I come up for air in September.

                          2. re: golfer1

                            Wrong!! I grew up in Rhode Island and never saw anything but vinegar on fries. I have never gotten into this catsup thing that is what is served in the Midwest.

                            1. re: golfer1

                              Long John Silvers had malt vinegar in the 60s and 70s. Did they discontinue it?

                              1. re: miss_msry

                                Long John's still has malt vinegar, but you may have to ask for it.

                        2. I like fries with tartar sauce(especially the big thick ones), that's close enough.

                          1. Growing up in NJ of Scottish heritage, I began using malt vineger with my fish and chips at
                            restaurants in Kearny but it was rarely available even on request elsewhere. Now I am
                            finding it in more places - even at Roy Rodgers in MD when they offer f & c as a special.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ferventfoodie

                              A bit off topic but we used to travel from Ridgewood to Kearney for fish & chips and meat pies. In New Hampshire now they are harder to come by.

                            2. Well, the bottle of malt vinegar in my cabinet, which I keep expressely for fries, proves that at least in my kitchen it's not dying out.

                              1. I think vinegar on fries makes a lot of sense -- the vinegar balances the oiliness of the fried food, same as in a salad dressing.

                                Actually Americans do almost always put vinegar on their fries, but like so many other foods today they have to have their vinegar with sugar. So the substance they use to get their vinegar on fries is catchup, which is actually a sweet-sour sauce containing vinegar and tomato acid. Too bad. We Americans seem to need sugar with everything, even in the above-mentioned salad dressings. And I suppose that may help explain why so often we no longer use just plain vinegar on our fries, but have switched to a sweet-sour sauce.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: johnb

                                  I wonder if it has anything to do with takeout food? In your typical FF container, ketchup is easily applied to most of the fries (or it sits in a dollop at the top that you dip fries into). Vinegar, on the other hand, pools in the bottom, and in the smaller paper containers, that can mean it's all over you a few moments later.

                                  If I have a plate, I prefer vinegar, but if I'm walking around or in the car, I prefer ketchup.

                                2. I drown my fries in malt vinegar if it's available. YUM.

                                  1. My dear, departed mom liked Long John Silver's and always made sure to get packets of malt vinegar there. This is one of many culinary ways she influenced me, because I truly love malt vinegar on fries. I also use it in my muffaletta olive relish.

                                    PS--I haven't darkened a Long John Silver's door in quite some time. Anybody know if they still offer malt vinegar?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                      Yes, Long John Silver's still offers malt vinegar packets. I have their fish planks probably three or four times a year and I use the malt vinegar and their hot sauce. Now I'm craving LJS, especially the crispy bits of breading that cower in fear from me at the bottom of the paper container. They're the best use of grease I've ever encountered in my life.

                                      1. re: justalex

                                        I hear ya', bud. LJS used to call those crispy bits "chips," but it seems that the outlets in my neckothewoods don't give you nearly as many as they used to.

                                        Incidentally, do you know what kind of fish LJS uses for their fish planks? I've heard different answers on this.

                                        1. re: justalex

                                          I always ask for extra crumbs!

                                          1. re: randyjl

                                            You can do that????!!!!!!!

                                            Awesome.

                                            I alway hope to find them at the bottom, and munch and enjoy. The idea that you could ask for them and GET them? (shudder of hopeful joy.)

                                            I now live far from a LJS - but with this new info? If I'm passing one, I"m going in!

                                      2. My bf being english, was the first to introduce me to the vinegar/steak fry combo. Delicious. Where have they been all my life?

                                        1. I know there are some Rhode Islanders who still do that--diners may have the vinegar right next to the ketchup.

                                          1. Vinegar on fries is still popular around Montreal, in "diners" you'll most often find a bottle of white vinegar on the table next to ketchup and S&P

                                            1. Here in Western MA one often sees malt vinegar on the table at places that serve fries.

                                              1. Vinegar on fries is essential in rural Ontario. It's the norm. Many eateries provide both white and malt.

                                                I also add a small splash of vinegar in the side of gravy for dipping or topping my fries.

                                                1. I've noticed that you have to ask for *everything* in fast food places now, perhaps because of pilferage. But no shortage of white vinegar in the fry-producing places I frequent in Vancouver, BC that aren't fast food. I rarely see malt vinegar, though. I personally prefer white vinegar, to the extent that I will try to get it even in the US. Which led to a strange experience at SFO when the lovely guy behind the counter poured a little tub of white vinegar out for me (they apparently only use it for prep). It was such a kind gesture that I felt guilty hatin' on the watery, sweetish, untart liquid in that little tub, nothing like the white vinegar I get at home.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    I grew up in RI. Lots of diners had white vinegar on the table to go with fries. I prefer malt these days.

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      Same here in Montreal, no shortage of White Vinegar in restaurants, ranging from the fancier restaurants to some hot dog joint! Either in packets or bottle on the table.

                                                      Malt vinegar on the other hand, not found that easily, except in british pubs/fish and chips places

                                                      1. re: westaust

                                                        I concur - its definitelly NOT a dying tradition in Montreal (or Quebec for that matter). I'm guessing its a geographical thing, golfer1, maybe check out North Bay - they're likely still going.
                                                        I also agree, malt vinegar is not very popular in Montreal.
                                                        I was about 12 years old with the folks on summer vacation in Virginia Beach. I order a fry on the boardwalk and ask the guy (he looked like Mel from the old TV show Alice) for vinegar. He looked at me kinda funny then rummaged through the back. 5 minutes later, he plops the bottle on the order counter and watches me.
                                                        Me, on the other hand, am wondering why the hell this "vinegar" is brown - it *says* vinegar on the labele, but it don't look like vinegar, at least none I knew (I was 12...). Meanwhile, Mel is staring me down, pissed that I made him rummage through the back.
                                                        So I open the bottle and hose down my fries, just like back home, raise my head high, turn on my heel and walk away. Once out of sight, I try the fries.
                                                        BLECH.
                                                        I learned that not all vinegars are alike and that my preference was white vinegar.

                                                        1. re: porker

                                                          LOL, I had a similar experience at approx that age. To me, malt vinegar still smells like it needs a good go in the washing machine :-).

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            I've tried all kinds of vinegars in my life, starting with white vinegar on plain sliced cucumbers. Chill, crack on a little black pepper, and it was my mom's idea of the perfect summer snack.

                                                            But malt vinegar, red wine, cider, and all the balsamics - I've never tried a vinegar I didn't find at least interesting, and I like most of them.

                                                            Can't understand anyone hatin' on malt, but I guess that leaves more for me.

                                                            1. re: FrankD

                                                              FrankD - Have you tried coconut vinegar?

                                                              The asian market near me has it, but I have no idea what I would do with it!

                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                Coconut vinegar - at least, the stuff I used in Sri Lanka - has a very distinct coconut smell and taste. I used it for my all-purpose vinegar for cooking - white vinegar is much more expensive in Sri Lanka.

                                                                However, it is NOT AT ALL suitable for use in making mayo. Neither is coconut oil. Trust me on this.

                                                                1. re: LMAshton

                                                                  And to continue going sideways - there's a recipe floating around for Hollandaise using coconut oil - IMO horible!

                                                                  1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                    *shudders*

                                                                    I love coconut oil. LOVE. It's my main cooking oil, coconut flavour and all. But THIS? Horrible idea.

                                                                    Just like coconut oil in mayo. That was a tosser.

                                                    2. Here in Virginia, most restaurants (pub-types usually) that serve fish and chips always have a bottle of malt vinegar on the table. Love it on both the fish & the fries.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                                        I've also noticed that all of the burger joints from 5 Guys to big bunz and brgr shack are packing. I got hooked on vinegar and fries at Arthur Treachers when I was a kid and the vinegar from the fish would leak over into the fries..

                                                        1. re: rHairing

                                                          Ah, Arthur Treacher's. That might have been where I first encountered the mix - or maybe H Salt Fish and Chips? I just cannot remember. For me, the 1960's were rather a blur...

                                                          Hunt

                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            I first had it on fries at Arthur Treacher's too, back in the early 70s. We used to call it Arthur Treacherous...

                                                      2. I'm not seeing it die out (I'm in Nova Scotia) The little packets aren't usually automatically handed out anymore, but then neither is salt or ketchup.

                                                        That being said, we were at Busch Gardens in Tampa this past winter, and a request for vinegar for our fries was met by "that's a weird request" by one cashier and "You must be Canadian" by the other.

                                                        1. I'm Ontario all the way but have Iived half my life in New England. White vinegar was more or less standard with fries in my Ontario experience, on the table with the ketchup and salt almost everywhere, packets commonplace. Never saw malt vinegar until I was a grown up in the Big City and you would see it at Brit or Irish pub-ish kind of places. Never seen white vinegar in 20 years in New England. See the malt, usually again at UK/Ireland sort of spots but also now at chains like 5 Guys. So maybe usage of malt vinegar is spreading a bit but it still does not seem to be a big thing.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: deglazer

                                                            When 5 guys opened up here in the Edmonton area, they had a few bottles of malt vinegar by the ketchup, but the last time I was there (yesterday) they had bottles of white vinegar. Maybe there is hope. I guess part of my feeling that the tradition is dying out is that neither my daughter or any of her friends use vinegar on fries...they are 18-20. I also concur that the fish and chip shops use the malt vinegar (British thing eh!) but most other places is white vinegar. I do sometimes get strange looks in fast food places when I ask, but they usually rummage around and find some.

                                                            1. re: golfer1

                                                              My teenage son loves vinegar on fries. There is hope!

                                                          2. There is a place here in Minnesota that has white vinegar on their table for their fish and chips. I thought it was really weird actually because all I have ever seen was Malt vinegar for fries. I am not a big fan of white vinegar but Malt is just fantastic on fries. Saddens me that they don't have Malt.

                                                            1. At fairs here in NH the vendors put out spray bottles full of malt vineger along with the ketchup and salt. Perfect distribution that way.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: calliope_nh

                                                                I like that. I need something for my vinegar at home. I'm going to pick up a small spray bottle. Thanks!

                                                                1. re: calliope_nh

                                                                  The spray bottle is a good idear, but most people I know need more of a hosing of vinegar than a misting. Vinegar 1st, salt 2nd (salt sticks to the wet fries).

                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                    Agreed. A mere mist just won't feed the bulldawg. I need a good dousin'.

                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                      Can agree for the taste but how do you avoid them being SOGGY? Or is that ok? :-)

                                                                      1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                        I dip

                                                                        1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                          If the elapsed time between dip and bite is less than 2.71 seconds, no sogginess occurs. Researchers at Cal Tech proved this in a ground-breaking study back in '96.

                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                            Must have been included in the neutrino tracking investigation.

                                                                            1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                              It was an accidental find while searching out dark matter.

                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                Indeed. But one with considerably more utilitarian applicability.

                                                                    2. re: calliope_nh

                                                                      A 'Spray' bottle? What a brilliant idea!
                                                                      I have never seen one -ever - from Europe to Asia and Australia to TX and FL. This idea could sweep the world.

                                                                    3. Not sure that it ever really caught on, beyond "fish n' chips."

                                                                      I have been doing cider vinegar on my fries for maybe 45 years. Going way, way back, we had a little bar, that had the ultimate french fries - by memory, they still are, though a hurricane blew them away. When I first started hanging there, I asked for vinegar for my fries. Everyone looked askance at me, and I got the message. Next time, I showed up with a large bottle of cider vinegar. It was placed below the counter, and was handed to me, every time I ordered. I kept a fresh bottle there, for several years.

                                                                      Others may, or may not, have used my bottles, but that does not matter, so long as I had some for my fries.

                                                                      Recently, I have seen vinegar offered at some non f&c places, so maybe it is coming back.

                                                                      In London, I get it, along with my Brown Sauce, so it is not dead there.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. A regular condiment in our home as well. The very first time I enjoyed malt vinegar was on an order of fish and chips. Bottles of malt vinegar were on every table. It's an easy item to find in the grocery store and beyond the fish and chips, steak fries, steaks and salads we use malt vinegar on it remains one of my 'secret' weapons for deviled eggs.

                                                                        1. Grew up in a small KY town, and the "exotic" British Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips served malt vinegar with fries. I loved it in the '60s, and I continue to love it now. Cannot presently remember who Arthur Treacher was, but will Google him!

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                            Yup - good old "Arthur Treacher's". There aren't as many of them around as there used to be, but I do fondly remember my grandfather taking me there when I was just a little sprout, because my grandmother hated fish. So when I was staying with them, & granddad & I had a hankering, we'd go to the local "Arthur Treacher's" in Flushing, NY. Great stuff for a seafood-loving kid - malt vinegar & all! :)

                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                              I miss my Arthur Treacher's, as well. Last one I knew of was in the Omni Mall in Miami, and I know that closed about 20 years ago.

                                                                              Now, if we can just get curried chips to get popular over here... outside of Irish festivals and Highland games, of course :)

                                                                              1. re: GreenDragon

                                                                                http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

                                                                                Growing up this place was the bomb for authentic fish and chips. When it closed fans cried (including me). Early 2011 a local guy tried to reopening the place and the deal failed. There's a nearby chippery today but it's not the same beast...

                                                                            2. re: pine time

                                                                              Arthur Treacher was a British actor, and some of his more famous roles were as either a British Gentleman, or as a British butler. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_T...

                                                                              His fish-n-chips franchises hit the MS Gulf Coast and New Orleans, in the 1960's

                                                                              Even better, and a precursor, was H Salt Fish and Chips, that hit both locations about 4 years earlier. Doing the math, and guessing a a bit, I would say that H Salt hit MS and NOLA in about 1962, with Arthur Treacher in about 1964. Could be off by a year, or two.

                                                                              Treacher's was good, but H Salt was better. H salt used Icelandic Cod, and it was excellent. Not sure about Treacher's, but it was good - though not excellent.

                                                                              Now, I spend much time in London and its environs. I do variations of fish-n-chips from corporate pubs to high-end restaurants, and none can compete with my MEMORY of H Salt's f-n-c. Those were the paradigm, by which all others shall forever be judged.

                                                                              Still, it was about then, that the vinegar with chips (fries) came into my lexicon.

                                                                              Now, I have yet to quite warm to the UK "Brown Sauce" with either my fish, or my chips, but am trying.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                Arthur Treacher is best known in America as the sidekick on Merv Griffin's variety/chat show. He functioned as Ed McMahon did with Johnny Carson. One memorable bit involved the diminutive but overweight late comedienne, Totie Fields. When they stood side by side, Treacher towered over her, but once they sat down, her head was higher than his.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  I did not recall that. I knew him playing various "butlers," on more dramatic shows.

                                                                                  I do not recall seeing Merv Griffin, beyond some game show.

                                                                                  Thanks for that.

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    Thanks, greygarious--that's precisely where I now recall seeing him. Mom watched Merv Griffin all the time. I still miss the fish and chip shop, lo' these many years.

                                                                                    And, Hunt, I had forgotten about H Salt, which was also good, but further from home, so before I learned to drive, depended on Dad to chauffeur, and his choice was Arthur Treacher's.

                                                                              2. I like hot sauce with my fries. You get that tart vinegary flavor as well as little kick.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Chi_Guy

                                                                                  Hot sauce is good on popcorn as well.

                                                                                  Or jarred pickle juice on fries; another kind of vinegary hit.

                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                    Yah, a few shakes of Louisiana sauce in the melted butter for popcorn is great- not so much that it amounts to heat, just enough for that wonderfully savory vinegary/peppery aroma. Louisiana butter is heaven over pasta or rice too.

                                                                                    When I resort to microwave popcorn, I'll splash a little hot sauce right on it; that's pretty good, too. Frank's Chili Lime is very good over popcorn or potatoes, but I wasn't able to find any for awhile and when asked our supplier said he couldn't get it anymore.

                                                                                  2. re: Chi_Guy

                                                                                    Now, we do several variations of Chili-Cheese-Fries, and some are quite hot, while some just rich.

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                  3. Can't die quick enough, that crap STINKS!

                                                                                    1. Vendor in Ocean City Maryland, THRASHERS serves only fries and has had bottles of Apple Cider vinegar on their counters as long as I can remember (40+ yrs).
                                                                                      Cider Vinegar on fries in Maryland is very common.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Hue

                                                                                        Hue,

                                                                                        Sounds like my kinda' place.

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                        1. re: Hue

                                                                                          +1 Glad you mentioned THRASHERS they are the best memories of board walk food for me growing up 70's-80's
                                                                                          Just took my Boys there for the first time last year, they can’t get enough vinegar on there fries now!!

                                                                                        2. No, it's not dying.

                                                                                          Plenty of places here in the hot, dusty desert have Malt Vinegar available for patrons.

                                                                                          I don't know about other locations, but all of the Five Guys Burgers shops here in Phoenix have plenty of bottles of Malt Vinegar available. They are placed next to the ketchup and the napkins.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                                                            I think this thread pretty much illustrates vinegar on fries hasn't died :)

                                                                                          2. This thread compelled me to buy a load o' fish and fries from Long John's for the first time in probably three years. Say what you will about the joint, but I thoroughly enjoyed my fish n' chips with plenty o' malt vinegar.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                              Actually, I've heard from others that depending on the individual franchise, Long John's isn't half bad at all. I may just have to give our local one a try.

                                                                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                No, LJS is really not half bad. And I must give them credit for upping their fry game. In days of yore, their fries were limp, pale, undercooked and tasteless. Nowadays they are a worthy complement to the fish, and a nice vehicle for the vinegar.

                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                  Thanks! I'll definitely have to give our local one a try.

                                                                                              2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                I used to have a Long John Silvers/AW Rootbeer in my neighborhood. Oh heaven. A chili cheese dog, a fish plank and fries with malt vinegar. That's the way to get you fast food grub on. To bad they closed in my area.

                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                  Yes - ours here is a half-&-half building shared with AW Rootbeer too. I think all of the new franchises are set up this way.

                                                                                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                    Odd, closest one to me is 1/2 LJS and 1/2 KFC.

                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                      They all are (or were) brands owned by Yum Brands, the umbrella corp that mostly was a spin off from Pepsi in 1997. They have had a policy of co-branding numerous stores with 2 and sometimes 3 of their brands in the same location. Recently they sold off LJS and A&W.

                                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                                        Thanks for the heads up. Now I won't keep dreaming they will come back to me. Oh drat.

                                                                                                      2. re: pine time

                                                                                                        mine is half LJS anf haslf taco bell....

                                                                                                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                    LJS in Singapore isn't great. It's generally pretty flavourless, unfortunately. OTOH, for North American fare, I suppose that's to be expected. *ducks*

                                                                                                  3. okay pardon the obvious but what do you do with the malt vinegar? pour over the fries or use it as a dip? if pour over, doesn't that ruin the crisp of the fries?

                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                                      I sprinkle the malt vinegar over the potatoes. It's a light but effective addition to them and doesn't ruin the crisp if enjoyed immediately.

                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                        Many bottles have a small aperture in a plastic cap. As has been said, you "sprinkle" the vinegar over the chips/fries.

                                                                                                        Sort of like Trappey's Pepper Vinegar, that one would sprinkle over black-eyed peas.

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                                          Some people use malt vinegar, but i much prefer white (clear) vinegar. Not many people I know use it as a dip - most places around my neck of the woods have a bottle like this
                                                                                                          http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:AN...
                                                                                                          and you shake it like salt shaker. The vinegar comes out in a halting stream. About the 1st quarter portion of the fries will be crisp, the remaining will be deliciously soggy with the vinegar. If you're patient, you wait a few minutes (I dunno, kill time by eating a hot dog?) until ALL the fries are soggy to dig in. As I mentioned above vinegar 1st, salt second as it will stick better to the vinegared fries.
                                                                                                          Theres also something bewitching about the aroma of fries in a french fry bag drenched with white vinegar, kinda like this
                                                                                                          http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:AN...

                                                                                                          But then again, I can understand how it may not be appealing if you didn't grow up with it. Similar to fries with gravy - I've heard people shudder at the thought...yet lotsa people adore the soft, soggy texture of fries covered in gravy.

                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                            I retain the white vinegar for most cooked greens.

                                                                                                            Malt, or cider are for some dishes, like fries.

                                                                                                            Balsamic is for almost everything... [Grin]

                                                                                                            Trappy's Pepper Vinegar is for my black-eyed peas, and crowder peas.

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                          2. re: ns1

                                                                                                            The cognoscenti sprinkle, but Cro Magnon that I am, I dip. To my palate, the flavor of the vinegar dissipates if you sprinkle, while dipping gives you the immediate, up front vinegar hit.

                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                              More than an evolutionary marker, I feel its more laziness; if I dip, I'd have to grasp each fry and dip it perhaps twice? My god, the labor!
                                                                                                              A good dousing at the front end and alls I have to do after is eat fries, singly or in bunches - plus the increasingly wonderful sog factor.
                                                                                                              I will admit that not all sprinkled vinegar gets absorbed (it'll pool at the bottom), it may require a second hose-down.
                                                                                                              So...perhaps the ambitious dip, but the lazy sot that I am, I douse.

                                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                                Heh heh.

                                                                                                                So I'm an industrious Cro Magnon. Perhaps someday I'll work my way up to homo habilis, and all on account of intensive vinegar-and-fry methodology.

                                                                                                                (Surely there's a dissertation in this for somebody.)

                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                  There is no wonderful "sog" factor. Sog is never wonderful.

                                                                                                                  Guess I'll try dipping (i like a lot of malt vinegar in my cheesesteaks)

                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                    Sog IS wonderful...see my previous, previous post {;-/)

                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                      I agree with you. Sog and crisp can be fabulous

                                                                                                            2. Going way, way back, Malt Vinegar was not common, where I lived, so I substituted Cider Vinegar, in lieu.

                                                                                                              When I moved to a more metropolitan area, suddenly malt vinegar was available, and it was even better.

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                Heck, I even spruce up a glass of ice water with a shot of apple cider or red wine vinegar! Doesn't have to be lemon, folks.

                                                                                                                1. re: Wiley1

                                                                                                                  After my partner moved in I had fixed fish sticks (yes, Costco fish sticks) and sprinkled malt vinegar on them. He said, "What is that S***?. He is a convert now! Oh yeah, on the tater tots too! Bottled ketsup is for rookies!

                                                                                                                  1. re: randyjl

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the tip!! I never thought of using it on fish sticks. I don't buy them that often (usually bake my own from strips of fresh Cod), but sometimes I get the hankering for past comfort food, which means commercial Gorton's or Mrs. Paul's, etc. (along with commercial boxed mac & cheese of course! Lol!). Will have to remember to break out the malt vinegar next time. Again - thanks!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                      I was once a big fan of fish sticks, but then everyone changed not only their fish, but their breading, and an "old favorite" sort of faded away. Have not tried the Costco version (though their tempura shrimp are quite good), and with some of my vinegars, maybe I can re-connect?

                                                                                                                      Thanks,

                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                  2. re: Wiley1

                                                                                                                    I have never tried that, but in the Summer heat, here in AZ, we do a lot of ice water, and "sprucing it up," sounds like a plan.

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the tip - actually, I really like vinegar, and use it often. I think that of all "condiments," we have more vinegars, followed my mustards, which usually have some vinegar level.

                                                                                                                    Appreciated,

                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                2. Try a squeeze of lemon on your fries sometime, and a dusting of oregano. Greek-style, baby.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    That sounds like a good plan of attack.

                                                                                                                  2. Vinegar on fries is terrific - whether you live in the UK or not.

                                                                                                                    As for the 'taste' dying out - I would note that it is NOW possible to get potato chips with a 'salt and vinegar' taste - so someone in the monster corps must have noticed someone likes the combination.

                                                                                                                    The weird thing is they keep the same salt concentration which is absolutely stupid because vinegar certainly covers the 'salt' spectrum partially and could allow for reduction of salt - similarly with a Limon chip version by Lay's - they could definitely lower salt content but they don't.)

                                                                                                                    33 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                                                                      Oh yeah. I've got a sack o' salt and vinegar chips at home right now. And they're callin' my name.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                                                                        "I would note that it is NOW possible to get potato chips with a 'salt and vinegar' taste"
                                                                                                                        "now" being since the 1950s.....

                                                                                                                        Which got me thinking; reading through this thread (started by a Canuck) its plain to see that white vinegar on french fries is not very common in the US. Most people seem to think *malt*, but when mentioning *white*, everyone's face scrunches up. Yet, salt & vinegar chips are flavored with white vinegar and no one bats an eye.

                                                                                                                        As a side, I also like white vinegar on bbq potato chips....

                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                          Well, is there any vinegar that WOULDN'T be good on fries? Malt vinegar is the only vinegar I've tried on them, but I'd be willing to give all vinegars a go. Not sure about balsamic, though...

                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                            Sorry - the 'now' referred to residence in Scandinavia - but actually was last week in Fresno and 2 'well-equipped' shops never heard of them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                                              Maybe slightly off-topic, but the Canuck reference reminded me of the time I was in a restaurant in Toronto, and the waiter asked the ladies at the table next to me if they wanted gravy on their fries. When they looked blankly at him, he smiled and said "What part of the States are you from?"

                                                                                                                              1. re: Wiley1

                                                                                                                                I have tried several gravies, but none did anything for me.

                                                                                                                                I have had wonderful "Chili Cheese Fries," such as are served at the Camillia Grill in New Orleans.

                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                  Hot roast beef sandwich(open faced) with beef gravy and french fries also covered in the gravy!!! Standard fare in the Baltimore Area....

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Hue

                                                                                                                                    open faced?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                      Maybe "misspoke here"sometimes open faced sometimes as above...point being gravy fries!!!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                    Showing my age, but my first connection to gravy on fries was "Wavy Gravy?"

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                      How were Wavy Gravy (aka Hugh Romney) and fried potatoes connected?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                        Didn't he run the "Fries Concession" at Woodstock?

                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                          :), Hunt, but I suspect if he had any booth concession, it would have been something smokeable. Tripeler--just the name association. Guess if I need to 'splain it, it wasn't funny after all.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                            From what I know, Wavy Gravy was working in the tent/booth at Woodstock where people who were freaking out on bad acid (LSD) were brought to calm down and recover.

                                                                                                                                            Wavy Gravy also runs a summer camp every year in Mendocino County (Northern California) called Camp Winnarainbow, and I sent my daughter there every summer for three years back in the 90s. Every night when it was time for kids to brush their teeth, Wavy would apparently say "Brush 'em if you got 'em, soak 'em if you brought 'em."

                                                                                                                                            The only food connection I know of is not fried potatoes, but rather the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Flavor called "Wavy Gravy" which has been discontinued for a while. Very interesting character, that Wavy.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                            No, he didn't, Hunt. Though I suspect you're being tongue-in-cheek here. Hugh Romney is a clown/personality celebrity, local boy made good, ex-hippie, current owner of Camp Winnarainbow.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                              Ah, I knew that I had heard the name somewhere.

                                                                                                                                              Thanks,

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Wiley1

                                                                                                                                        Reminds me of driving through Georgia and stopping at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Since they had no vinegar (keeping me slightly on topic...) I thought I'd smother the fries with gravy, so I order a large gravy. The counter girl reads back the order and finishes with "and a larger biscuits&gravy"
                                                                                                                                        "No. No biscuits, just the gravy"
                                                                                                                                        "Saywhat?"
                                                                                                                                        "You said "biscuits&gravy", but I don't want the biscuits, I just want gravy."
                                                                                                                                        "You just want the gravy? No biscuits?!"
                                                                                                                                        "Thats right...I'm gonna use it on my fries."
                                                                                                                                        Shaking her head, she turns around and yells towards the back (You gotta imagine the southern drawl) "Hey Edna, get this; this guy is ordering gravy WITH NO BISCUITS!"
                                                                                                                                        The whole place, customers, diners, work staff, seemed to stop whatever they're doing and looked at me.
                                                                                                                                        Its an amusing story, but it was a bewildering experience for a young porker twenty-some years ago - hehe.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                          Heh heh. That's hilarious.

                                                                                                                                          Forgive me going OT, but I had a similar experience at a restaurant in Seymour, Texas.

                                                                                                                                          Waitress arrives at my table to take my breakfast order. I order a couple of breakfast burritos with the stipulation that I didn't want any eggs in my 'ritos. The waitress was absolutely agog. I had to repeat my order three times. Then she eyed me with deep suspicion and said, "Well, just 'cause yew ain't gettin' aygs, that don't mean yer gettin' extra meat in yer burritos!"

                                                                                                                                          I sighed and said, that'd be just fine.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                            How shocked would she be to find out that KFC in Canada doesn't have biscuits? Gravy, yes - but that's for the fries!!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                              I can just imagine you headed to the parking lot, with all patrons and workers in hot pursuit. Hope you had your keys out, and made it safely to the highway.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                The generic USA KFC menu has mashed potatoes and gravy, and biscuits (not with gravy). I don't see fries.

                                                                                                                                                Curious, was the Georgia gravy brown or white? Isn't biscuit gravy always white?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                  I do not know about KFC, but in the Deep South, the gravy can be either - it just depends, and can differ from family to family, or town to town. Sort of like asking for a recipe for mole - it can differ greatly.

                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                    I barely remember the color of my hair, let alone a gravy from 25 years ago...
                                                                                                                                                    I remember being ridiculed, but the gravy does not stand out, so I assume it was standard KFC gravy: not white, not dark brown, but a kind of Crescent Suede Dune 40x60 Mat;
                                                                                                                                                    http://www.reuels.com/reuels/Crescent...
                                                                                                                                                    However, Mrs Porker (who had refuge in the car the whole time) remembers the gravy to be not white as in a biscuit gravy, but lighter than the usual KFC gravy.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                      Apparently Colonel Sanders insisted on Mashed Potatoes and Gravy as the best match for chicken, and this makes excellent sense to me. Serving fried potatoes with fried chicken certainly blunts the impact of fried chicken. Apparently, the Corporados running KFC eventually won out and went with the french fries.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                        I could definitely see the original, when one considers the textural aspects of the whole dish.

                                                                                                                                                        If everything has a crunch, that should be boring, at least to most.

                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                              2. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                <<and no one bats an eye.>>

                                                                                                                                                They use "bats' eyes?"

                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                  A very old tradition I occasionally embrace is one a shucker at the Union Oyster House in Boston told me about - a little white vinegar and sea salt on a fresh shucked, nothing more.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                    Sounds purdy shuckin' good.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                    I was eating salt'n'vins just before checking this thread again -- our potato chip staple since childhood. We used to crave them when we went on extended trips south of the border and they were non-existent. I still can't find them when we travel in the States though it sounds like that is changing.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                      In Canada, salt and vinegar chips were always available dating back as far as I can remember, which would be roughly 1972. I wasn't alive in the 1950s.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                        Which is exactly what I'm saying: jouni seems to think its a recent phenomenon....

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                          Not really - it was just that I asked for them in Fresno - the availability in Canada is coming from UK - they may have been around the US for years but they could be very regional. In any case the homeland for vinegar and fries/chips/crisps is UK - potatoes and vinegar are together in Germany (as per the 'German' potato salad as known in US).

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                          I remember my first taste of s&v chips in 1968, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Isn't mayo the preferred dip in the homeland of fries (Belgium)?

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                        Yes. As it is in the Netherlands. But the OP is from Canada, and never mentioned mayo. Are we now just throwing out random condiments/sauces/dips that go with fries?

                                                                                                                                                      2. If you don't like the soggy factor, Williams-Sonoma is carrying a malt vinegar salt in their spice area and it is pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Budser1228

                                                                                                                                                          You can also get salt and (white) vinegar flavoured powder for popcorn quite readily here in BC. Kernels and other companies make it. I've never tried it on fries but I imagine it would be quite tasty.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                            And Lays Potato Chips also puts out a Salt & Vinegar potato chip. :)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                              That is what I was eating but I (wrongly) assumed that was a "Canadian" flavour only. Glad the s&v hounds in the US can enjoy 'em too.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                Salt & vinegar crisps are the third most popular flavour here in the UK - after cheese & onion (1) and plain ready salted (2)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                  What, not roasted chicken flavo(u)r?

                                                                                                                                                                  Seriously, I had to buy a small pack when I was last in the UK, b/c I couldn't wrap my head around it. It was...... surprisingly tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                    Nah. The market leader (Walkers) has roast chicken at #7. Just below smoky bacon and just above prawn cocktail.

                                                                                                                                                                    However, haggis and black pepper has to be the one to try.
                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.mackies.co.uk/potato_crisp...

                                                                                                                                                                    By the by, are there any particularly German flavours available in Germany, lingua?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                      Being not much of a chips/crisps gal, I'll have a look-see next time I'm at the supermarket. We do have "BBQ", which is a far cry from anything resembling BBQ flavors in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                      But we have these:

                                                                                                                                                                      http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdnussf... (peanut-flavored corn snacks, hugely popular in my teens, and likely still -- even if I don't eat them anymore).

                                                                                                                                                                      Don't knock 'em till you've tried 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, yes, I'm going looking for them. They're like corn snacks we have in the UK but peanut flavoured ones sound "the business". I suspect Lidl and Aldi are my most likely sources.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                          Good luck! They are rather addictive.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                        Does Walker's still have a "Fish n Chips" flavour?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Wiley1

                                                                                                                                                                          Presumably the company's website will tell you.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                            Couldn't readily find it on their site, but Wiki has all the goods!

                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                        Canada has a General Tao flavor
                                                                                                                                                                        http://newquebec.blogspot.ca/2008/04/...

                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                        Remember hedgehog flavour crisps? Those were the days.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                          When I visit the UK half my suitcase coming back is full of Salt and Vinegar crisps.

                                                                                                                                                                          Here on the West Coast you can find S&V and other flavours quite readily, but the only ones I like are Mrs Vickers, which I believe are Canadian.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                                                                            Hey Chatsworth, I think you mean Miss Vickie's, which are indeed from Onterrible : -): http://www.missvickies.ca/en/history.php

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                                                                              Have you ever tried the Art's and Mary's brand of S&V? It's a small company located in Kansas. I've mailed chips to friends of mine who have moved to locations where they are not available. Pretty darn good chips.
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.artsandmarys.com/products/

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                            I finally found Lay's salt and vinegar chips in Washington State. Bleh. The vinegar just wasn't... well... vinegary. Kinda weirdly mild. And a bit sweet. Which BTW is how any white vinegar I've tasted in the US has been.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. The OP asks why the tradition is fading in Canada. One can only speculate - possibly it is just changing tastes, possibly it is the the influence of American cultural imperialism.

                                                                                                                                                                      Here, in the UK, there are strong signs of the similar issue. Whilst malt vinegar is still *always* offered at a fish and chip shop, it is generally not at American fast food places, like Burger King. Folk will grow up with the American style and not want vinegar and, in due course, another native food style will have fallen by the wayside.

                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                        American cultural imperialism? Nobody forces your kids to eat at McDonald's, mate. There's a little something called freedom of choice that fits into the equation.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                          There goes the neighbourhood.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                            This term...cultural imperialism definitely seems to have a negative connotation to this particular poster, but he is certainly correct when he makes the statement: American food, movies, etc certainly get more play overseas than our physical products. Americans, however, are used to in large part the immense cultural diversity that is imbued onto the country from all over the world. It's nice to have so many different cuisines to select from.

                                                                                                                                                                            McDonald's notwithstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chrisjuricich

                                                                                                                                                                              I could not agree more. In the US, we have a wealth of different cuisines, and many have made "in-roads" into the culture.

                                                                                                                                                                              Now, London is similar, in that the "cuisine of London," is mostly anything BUT British.

                                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Alive and well here in New England. Just had some pier fries in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Malt vinegar is a required condiment.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Typically I've only seen it when served fish and chips--but I see no reason why one couldn't try it sans fish.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Not only do I sprinkle malt vinegar on my fries, but my BIL taught me to mix a little into a bowl of chili. Try it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: susans

                                                                                                                                                                                Getting back to the sog factor of vinegar, I've seen white and malt in spray bottles in fish n chip shops. Seems to split the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I am a southerner living in Northern Maine so when the wife and I went to the county fair every booth that sold fries had white vinegar available and one had malt vinegar, so apparently the tradition is alive and well here.

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                  yeah, but did you partake?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes, I gave white vinegar a try. I liked and would try it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Obviously a passionate topic. I love malt vinegar on the fish part of fish and chips, but I find that vinegar on chip/fries just makes them soggy . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                    I like them soggy. I also like them slightly undercooked so they are soft. Yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I recently tried Wendy's fries with vinegar and they were pretty good. This wasn't at Wendy's - my girlfriend brought some fries home for me and I decided to put malt vinegar on them instead of ketchup. Try it some time.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My 11 yr old son and I love vinegar on fries, and we live in NJ! There's a hotdog truck in our area that we frequent and they always have a bottle of malt vinegar sitting out with the other condiments, so it can't just be us that loves fries served that way. Not a dying tradition at all!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I am and have always been obsessed with the piping hot crinkle fries that Chinese takeout places seem to make oh so well. I spent a week in England several years ago and caught on to the vinegar on fries tradition but somehow abandoned it since then. I thank this thread for reminding me of the insane deliciousness. It seems now every Sunday night I find myself with an order of crinkle fries, sprinkled with malt vinegar and a ramekin full of ketchup. However, any suggestions on application? It seems that there is never enough vinegar and I just end up with soggy fries and a pool at the the bottom of the bowl. I love the burnt and crispy bits of fries so the soggy issue is particularly poignant for me. I know in England the crisps are usually thicker and so don't suffer from much of the sogginess issue but anyone found a good way to apply to more traditional shoestring or crinkle fries? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh! So I am not the only one!

                                                                                                                                                                                          As a kid I LOVED the fries I could get a chinese places (not to go places but restaurants that, as my Dad said "You could wipe the character off the wall.)

                                                                                                                                                                                          It was years later that I realized they were so good, not just because they were crispy - chinese restaurants do fry well - but that they were extra flavorful, because they'd been cooked in the same oil as the rest of the food and somehow that just gave them that little extra something.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I need some now.

                                                                                                                                                                                          As for the soggy issue - maybe you just spray them, rather than sprinkle? Or have a cup of the vinegar, so you can dip at will, which should help preserve much of the crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the suggestion. Dipping is my ultimate solution and I actually like it better (I think someone said above - with dipping you get in your face malt vinegar flavor vs sprinkling).

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                              Local(?) hamburger chain, Five Guys, has bottles of malt vinegar available. You can fill up one or two of the little "souffle" cups and dip your fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hue

                                                                                                                                                                                                FYI, Five Guys is coast-to-coast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And common in parts of Canada too :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                In addition, "dipping" helps to keep the fries somewhat crisp. Once you sprinkle, they tend to get soggy pretty quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Amen! I hate the soggy, thus went searching for a solution. The dip method was a very simple one.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. This tradition is alive and well for me, but where does the malt vinegar go? It seems I douse the fries and while I'm eating the malt taste gradually wanes. The clear solution is to add more because in my book you can never have enough. Just wondering does anyone else experience this, is the vinegar evaporating?

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree on that one, need to put more vinegar during the whole time as it seems to evaporate (or just fall down to the bottom of the bag/plate) otherwise it seems it looses it's flavor!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westaust

                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely, the fries at the bottom (albeit soggy) are the best because they are coated in vinegar but the flavor on the upper layers is lacking. I have now converted to the dip method so no longer an issue but I assume the only solution is douse again?

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I'm in BC & can tell you white vinegar is still used by many on fries & fish & chips. That being said, malt vinegar is usually side by side with the white & cider vinegar seems to be making an appearance more & more for some reason. Myself, I like to sprinkle a good amount of both white & malt vinegar on my fries, & the more the better!

                                                                                                                                                                                              A few years ago on a trip to the US, I asked for vinegar for my fries at a out of the way cafe. A couple of minutes later the waitress came back with a small plastic condiment cup full of red wine vinegar. I did try it though, as I really wanted that vinegary taste, but It was awful!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I love vinegar on fries and tonight had an odd epiphany.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I went out for Peruvian food and got Lomo Saltado, basically an asian stir fry, served over french fries. And as I'm giving out samples to my dinner companions and insisting they have the soy sauce soaked ones versus the still crispy ones (because the soaked ones are better) I realize - it's the same thing as vinegar! Savory, acidic, pretty darn perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                So, um, I guess the Brits and the Peruvians - like brothers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or, something kinda similar (in colour anyway) try balsamic vinegar on fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi, I'm Peruvian! Actually Lomo Saltado has vinegar as well as soy sauce, so the vinegar flavor you were picking up was the actual vinegar

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: glorybr

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Is the taste anything like Ponzu sauce? Soy, citrus,fish etc extracts(also vinegar)--it's incredible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Wiley1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        actually I think in chifa places (peruvian-chinese-japanese fusion restaurants) we have that Ponzu sauce with a delicious sort of breaded chicken that is dipped into it. I would say lomo saltado tastes more like a latin american beef stir-fry. It's really hard to describe, so please if you're ever in a peruvian restaurant give it a try :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Is anyone a fan of the Heinz malt vinegar? My usual grocery store only had London Pub and so I have been using that for a while and it was great. I happened to go to a different store and picked up Heinz but found it to be a very different "off" flavor. Anyone else have similar feelings? Also the Heinz it seems is made with both malt and corn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I picked up a bottle the other day--thanks to this thread--but have yet to crack it open. I hope it's alright.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Anyone use vinegar on tots or onion rings?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My DH and kids do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          An idea that occurred to me in my craving for fried anything last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm American and I just made french fries at home two days ago and doused them with malt vinegar. In fact, at first I couldn't find the vinegar and was in a mild panic since the fries were almost done. Nooooooooo! Anyway, I love malt vinegar on fries. In the Pacific Northwest, you can find malt vinegar as a table condiment at many fresh seafood restaurants, or it's available if you ask for it at a lot of burger places, too. Maybe because of our proximity to Canada?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Growing up on Cape Cod, malt vinegar was usally the preferred addition to fries. However, my kids now live in Rotterdam, Netherlands. On a recent visit there, I got re-introduced to something I had over 30 years ago and liked..but had forgotten: Mayo! Belgian/Dutch fry stalls always offer it and they even have packets in the Burger King. It's not exactly like Hellmans, a little more piquant. When we got back to the US, I tried it with some home cut and cooked fries. By adding a little bit of vinegar and some garlic powder to jarred mayo, it was pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          An as an aside....some of my Cape Cod friends prefer mayo to melted butter for their lobster. Sort of a lobster Salad roll w/o the roll

                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually mayo is next on my list of things to drip fries in. Considering the consumption of fried potatoes, the extra calories from mayo vs vinegar probably make no difference :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was maybe 17 yrs old and looking at the fast food board menu at Dutch Frites in Montreal. They listed "sauce" as 25c each.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              In our neck of the woods, fries covered in gravy is pretty big (along with its big brother poutine), so when I see a side of sauce ("sauce" and "gravy" are usually interchangeable) for 25c, I get excited. So I splurge and order 4!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              They hand me 4 thimbles of mayo....
                                                                                                                                                                                                              My girlfriend (today's Mrs. Porker) laughed her ass off at me (not the first time, nor the last...) as my dreams of cheap gravy were dashed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was my introduction of Belgian fries with mayo....only thing is, I don't like mayo....

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The best thing that the Netherlands has brought to fries is the oorlog (war) - three stripes across your serving - mayo, ketchup and peanut satay sauce. Tasty - and very pretty as well, to my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. I've only had oorlog that consisted of mayo, peanut sauce, and raw onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, the best thing the Netherlands brought to fries was legal weed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dijon mayo is king on fries... but vinegar too! why settle for one when you can enjoy both?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've had various flavored aiolis on fries, and they were delicious. Hmmm, may need to google some recipes, unless some benevolent CH has one to share...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Essentially an aioli is a flavored mayonnaise, although restaurants often call a mayo an aioli because they think it sounds better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Put 2 egg yolks in a blender. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, and a tsp. of dijon mustard. Start the blender, and begin to drizzle in a neutral oil in a very slow stream through the cap hole in the top. In a minute or two, mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, to vary this recipe, there's only two components that never change -- the egg yolks and the dijon mustard (an emulsifier). That leaves three things to play with -- the acid, the oil, and any added flavorings. Make it with minced garlic and olive oil, that's aoli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like a habanero lime mayo where I use lime juice as my acid and toss in a chopped habanero after my mayo forms. It can be served to nearly anyone, since the oil and egg coat the pepper, muting its heat while leaving its lovely fruity flavor. I use this on burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Toss in a tablespoon or 2 of chopped herbs for a great sandwich or chicken salad mayo (tarragon is perfect).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For fries maybe use malt vinegar as your acid. I haven't tried it, but it sounds good -- I may do that this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Making mayo/aoli is simple and always makes you look like a master chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I love vinegar on fries as I've mentioned several times in this thread, but also now love malt vinegar on braised/smothered vegetables - green beans and collard greens. I usually add vinegar but I don't know why it never occurred to me to use it sprinkled on these dishes, it's great and another use for the malt vinegar which otherwise just sits around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This started a real debate over lunch!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After a long and vociferous argument, I think that my buddies came to the following conclusions. I don't agree with them all, but what the heck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 There are no 'bad' foods that need to be avoided at all costs - the key is to have them in moderation. Yes potatoes and tallow/oil can be bad for you....but only if you pig out on them, rather than keep consumption in check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 This should be the responsibility of the individual (based on information on the food and the education/knowledge of the individual). As individuals, we should not expect the Government, or manufacturers, or outlets to nanny us. We have a responsibility to look after ourselves and our own bodies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 After this, we should be permitted to go for lower volume/frequency with better taste rather than higher volume/frequency and poorer taste if we wish. We voted for taste with restraint rather than blandness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Fried potatoes taste better fried in beef tallow.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (The Americans say they remember when Macdonalds made better fries - they used to be fried in beef tallow - and the switch to oil happened in the 1980's. The Brits say they remember the better taste given by beef tallow ('dripping') before the UK then moved over to pork lard, and then on to vegetable oils. Only the legendary Harry Ramsdens yorkshire Fish and chips, now a chain, seems to stick with beef tallow/dripping).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Frying in beef tallow/dripping makes the fries crisp and appetizing and keeps them firm. If we pig out on the fries so much that we have to start use frying oil to preserve our health, then this may lead to cutting the potatoes thinner (like macdonalds shoelaces), or crinkle cutting the potato to get a degree of surface crispiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thin and crinkle cutting gives a crisper coating, but because the surface area is now greater as a proportion of the volume - then the fries absorb and hold more oil internally . Hardly a health-saving strategic improvement!??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Salt (best taken in moderation) sticks a little too well to greasy oil-laden fries. (Ah! Oil and salt - how demonic! lol ) To get enough salt (which potatoes need to give them some taste) to stick on the 'dry' fries, then a sprinkling of vinegar helps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Some buddies seemed to think that the acid nature of the vinegar helped to 'emulsify' and break-up the greasy coat on a fry. ALWAYS, vinegar 1st, then the salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 A moderate sprinkling of vinegar does not make a thick-cut animal fat fry soggy. But an excess creates havoc on a thin-cut, vegetable oil fry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        9 As to the best vinegar? Well, all we could agree on is that they all seemed to include acetic acid, and consensus could not be reached. Many thought that because vinegar gave the comparatively bland potato some 'zing', we tended to use less salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Universal conclusion? We all loved vinegar on our fries. The UK guys were split - northerners preferring malt vinegar and 'non-brewed condiment' (whatever that is...looks like malt to me). Southerners seemed to prefer White vinegar. Minor votes went for cider vinegar and even one mention went to balsamic vinegar. Although some preferred mayo, ketchup etc, we all agreed that vinegar was just dandy and less calorie and fat laden than the alternative accompaniments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Well, fuse lit....any fireworks? :) )