As they are one of the ubiquitous foodstuffs, available anywhere in the world, don’t you think it would be handy to know how to order French fries in different languages? No matter where you are, if the “foreign” food looks unappealing to your tastes, or you are a fussy eater, if you know how to order French fries in different languages, you’ll never go hungry.
In English speaking countries generally, French fries are French fries. You will find that in the UK and Australia (and other ex-British Empire countries) they are called chips – a capture all term that applies to any rectangular-ish piece of fried potato. It’s interesting that they are called French fries as it is widely accepted that they are a Belgian invention. However, it’s only right that when learning how to order French fries in different languages one of those languages is French. The words you need are “pommes frites” - pronounced - pom freete.
French fries truly are universal and you can certainly get them in Finland. The Finnish language always looks so difficult to read and I can’t imagine how to pronounce some of the complicated looking words. If you are in Finland the words you need are “Ranskalaiset perunat” - sorry – no idea how to pronounce it properly! A popular barbecue dish in Finland is Makkaraperunat - a mix of sausage pieces and French fries.
Potatoes are a staple in polish cooking. One of the favorite polish dishes is potato pancakes (placki kartoflane) and they are served with so many different dishes. If in Poland and you want a change from pancakes, ask for French fries – “frytaki” – pronounced how it looks.
Go into any tapas bar in Spain and invariably you will find a dish known as patatas bravas. There are regional variations – some serve potatoes fried in olive oil with a spicy tomato sauce, other serve the potatoes with aioli (garlic mayonnaise). If you go to the Spanish Costas, it is unlikely you will need to know how to say French fries in another language because, as a favorite British destination, “chips” are everywhere. If however, you’re elsewhere, you need to ask for “patatas fritas”, or “papas fritas”.
One of the most commonly spoken language in China is Cantonese. And they’re well used to fried foods in Cantonese cooking so asking for French fries is not going to be greeted with a sense of ignorance, especially if you ask for (炸)薯條 - “(ja) syu tiu”. 炸 means “deep fried” , 薯 means “potato” and 條 means “stips/long narrow piece”. You can also omit the 炸 “ja” and just ask for 薯條 “syu tiu”.
As you know, pasta, rice and polenta are much more widely used in Italian cooking than potatoes, but that doesn’t mean the Italians don’t appreciate a good French fry. It will go down well if you order “patate fritte” – pronounced pat-ar-tay free-tay.
Russia is another country where the humble potato is a big diet staple. There’s also the issue of vodka. Although the potato was used, the vast majority of vodka through the ages and even today, was and is made from grains rather than spuds. So there’s plenty of Russian potatoes to make French fries aka картофель фри in Cyrillic and kartofel' fri when written in English. Pronounced how it looks.
It’s been fun looking up ways to order French fries in different languages. Essentially, all over the world, the words are a translation of fried potatoes, or potato strips/fingers. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – the language of food is universal! Do you speak a language other than English? How do you say French fries?