France, Belgium or America – The origin of French fries and where to eat them best in Vienna

Picture of Sarah Parzer
Sarah Parzer
Kommunikation ist ihre Leidenschaft und ihr Beruf. Hört man ihre Stimme mal nicht durch das Büro schallen, ist sie vermutlich auf Reisen mit ihrem Campervan-Oldtimer Louis. Als Sternzeichen Krebs zieht es sie dazu so oft es geht ans Meer. Als Snackspertin ist es ihre Mission, die besten Pommes der Welt zu identifizieren – eine Aufgabe, die sie sehr ernst nimmt.

Straight, wavy, curled, lattice-shaped, puristic with just salt, or yet spicy with chili and paprika powder – they come in countless shapes and flavor variations. French fries, or as I like to call them, deep-fried sunbeams, have far more flavor to offer than their fast-food reputation would have us believe.

I have been an avid lover of the oblong potato variation for over 25 years. My favorite way to enjoy them is plain, with salt and just a very tiny bit of ketchup. My love goes so far that a bag of deliciously greasy fries is even forever immortalized on my skin. So obviously I have already tested many variations and preparation methods and would like to share the best three fries variants of Vienna now with you.

Sarah, French Fries Enthusiast

But everything in turn, first there is a short history lesson: Pommes de terre frites is French for fried potatoes. This also means that the origin is in France, but this is far from guaranteed, although France likes to claim this. But as is well known, French is also spoken in Belgium, and anyone who has ever been to Belgium knows how seriously the Belgians take their deep-fried potato strips. A disputed document states that citizens on the Meuse River were frying fish-shaped potato slices as early as the end of the 17th century when the Meuse was frozen over. However, the authenticity of this certificate cannot be proven.

The French, however, see this quite differently. They claim the origin for themselves and say that already in 1789 during the revolution potato sticks were fried under the bridges of Paris.

Whether it was the French or the Belgians, the name remains the same, and we are glad that someone came up with this grand idea so that we can enjoy the dish that has been perfected over the centuries.

The top 3 French fries in Vienna

French: Truffle Fries

The start is made, how could it be otherwise, French fries. Café Francais serves thick, smooth fries – rather lightly fried, as is often the case in France. Unlike the common truffle fries varieties, here a truffle mayo is not simply served with them and decorated with a few truffle shavings. Here, a truffle salsa forms the topping. This consists of fresh truffle, of course, but also sauteed mushrooms.

Austrian: “Freibad” Pommes

We all know and love them – the “Freibad” (outdoor pool) fries. My personal highlight is the thick, smooth fries from Vienna’s Kongressbad. Deep-fried golden yellow and served with ketchup and mayo. Whether it’s really the potato sticks or the childhood memories of sliding in a race, the headlong plunge off the one-meter pedestal and the soggy fingers from hours of splashing around remain to be seen.

American: Steakhouse Fries

The origin comes from France or Belgium, we don’t know for sure. But we definitely know that Americans have long jumped on the fries bandwagon, preferring the classic American “loaded” variety. At Burger Boutique in the 17th District, they have it down to almost a science. Whether it’s Chili Cheese, Tex-Mex, or Pulled Beef Fries, here you’ll find everything that’s hearty and, above all, greasy. So if you’re looking for a perfect hangover meal, I recommend the Tijuana Fries: guacamole, sour cream with parmesan, arugula, and tomato and green onion mix.

Steak House Fries
"Freibad" Pommes

Now it only remains for me to wish you a good appetite, and perhaps we will see each other soon at the sausage stand with a large portion of fries – which, by the way, can be excellently combined with a cold beer.

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