Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Belgian Fries Conquer Abu Dhabi

From The National, by Si Hawkins

United Arab Emirates, December 28, 2009

The Frites of the Matter

It is hard to believe that the humble chip has become so contentious across the globe. A potent symbol of American business success but also a virtual pariah in the United States, it’s been patronised by presidents, played a prominent role in several wars and had its origins called into question. The size, shape, taste, nutritional qualities and even the name are issues that have occupied some of history’s most influential figures. It’s a hot potato.

In the UK, the very concept of the fast-food French fry is anathema to those brought up with slow-moving fish and chip shops. For Brits of a certain age, the sights, sounds and smells of the traditional chippy are to be savoured. But ever since the big US eateries moved into UK high streets several decades ago, the chunky old chip has been struggling manfully against those stiff little fingers from the States. It’s one skirmish that continues to simmer.

As patrons of the Abu Dhabi Intercontinental Hotel’s new Belgian cafe are discovering, however, the battle to be top chip isn’t quite as cut and dried – or cut and fried – as the Anglo-American axis might assume. The finest fries may, in fact, derive from a different European source, where, indeed, they were invented. And it isn’t France.

For the full article, click here.

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