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Jun 19, 2012 06:52 AM

Vinegar on Fries...a dying tradition

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?

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  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: 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.

                1. 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

                        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.


                          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?


                              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.