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#1
Old 02-01-2012, 04:59 AM
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British style chips with vinegar?

Ok so I developed a love of vinegar and salt flavored potato chips, which seem to be being slowly discontinued as the number of groceries that carry them is dwindling.

It got me curious about the British custom of putting vinegar on your chips(french fries) and I tried very lightly sprinkling some white 5% vinegar on some steaming hot french fries. Not bad but no matter how light I am on the sprinkling they do get soggy, too light and I can't even taste a difference.

What are Brits calling chips with vinegar? Am I doing this wrong?
#2
Old 02-01-2012, 05:03 AM
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White vinegar be damned - you should be using malt vinegar.
#3
Old 02-01-2012, 05:07 AM
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This looks timely:
http://telegraph.co.uk/foodanddr...egar-salt.html
#4
Old 02-01-2012, 05:11 AM
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The practise around here is to dip the fish in vinegar or put a drop on at a time just before you bite if you're holding the whole piece.

TriPolar - Professional fish slinger - Possibly related to the originator of Fish and Chips.
#5
Old 02-01-2012, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grude View Post
Ok so I developed a love of vinegar and salt flavored potato chips, which seem to be being slowly discontinued as the number of groceries that carry them is dwindling.

It got me curious about the British custom of putting vinegar on your chips(french fries) and I tried very lightly sprinkling some white 5% vinegar on some steaming hot french fries. Not bad but no matter how light I am on the sprinkling they do get soggy, too light and I can't even taste a difference.

What are Brits calling chips with vinegar? Am I doing this wrong?
Malt vinegar (as mentioned).
British "chips" are generally thicker. "Steak fries"? Is that right?

I actually put quite a lot on, as with a thicker chip they don't get soggy.
#6
Old 02-01-2012, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by amanset View Post
"Steak fries"? Is that right?
Sort of. The term has regional variations.
#7
Old 02-01-2012, 06:34 AM
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1. Malt vinegar, and salt
2. Chunky chips about half an inch thick minimum, not thin fries
3. A little sogginess isn't a bad thing.
#8
Old 02-01-2012, 07:40 AM
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I think that another subtle difference is that the chips that you buy in British chip shops tend to be slightly more greasy, and so absorb less of the vinegar...
#9
Old 02-01-2012, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grude View Post
Ok so I developed a love of vinegar and salt flavored potato chips, which seem to be being slowly discontinued as the number of groceries that carry them is dwindling.
They don't seem to be hard to find here. There must have been at least four different brands represented at my grocery store the other day, and at the gas 'n go I had a hard time finding plain potato chips, there were so many salt and vinegar and other flavors!

That said, I'll repeat what others have said...Malt Vinegar. If you want to be sure before you invest in a bottle, get some with your fries at any Charley's at the mall, or Arthur Treacher's/Nathan's, or Mr. Hero...they've had it for years with their waffle fries.
#10
Old 02-01-2012, 10:27 AM
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There's the malt vinegar thing others have mentioned. Also you said you "lightly sprinkled" the fries with vinegar. Roockie mistake, there.

You need to hose them down with vinegar, then apply a healthy coating of salt. Yes it makes them soggy. Soggy with deliciousness. British fries are usually not cooked that crispy anyway.
#11
Old 02-01-2012, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by One And Only Wanderers View Post
White vinegar be damned - you should be using malt vinegar.
Canadians use white vinegar -- that's what you would get if you asked for vinegar at McDonalds.

As noted above, yes, they get soggy and if you can't taste it, you're not using enough.
#12
Old 02-01-2012, 10:57 AM
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Hose them down, and re-apply as necessary--I often find that the vinegar absconds while I'm eating my fries, requiring several doses (and leading to a giant puddle of vinegar at the end, with delicious, soggy vinegar-soaked fries floating about).
#13
Old 02-01-2012, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
There's the malt vinegar thing others have mentioned. Also you said you "lightly sprinkled" the fries with vinegar. Roockie mistake, there.

You need to hose them down with vinegar, then apply a healthy coating of salt. Yes it makes them soggy. Soggy with deliciousness. British fries are usually not cooked that crispy anyway.
No, no. Salt first, then vinegar. The oil on the chips will repel the vinegar, but if you put the salt on first, it will cling to the grease, and then absorb the vinegar.
#14
Old 02-01-2012, 11:39 AM
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Yeah, to repeat everyone else - you have to use malt vinegar, and the chips don't resemble french fries. They're about 4 times as thick.
#15
Old 02-01-2012, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
Canadians use white vinegar
Well, then that's not British style fish and chips, then, is it?
#16
Old 02-01-2012, 12:13 PM
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Fair enough.
#17
Old 02-01-2012, 12:33 PM
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malt vinegar on fish and chips/fries is all well and good. I never found any vinegar-style potato chips I could stand because they all had way too much salt on them. I mean, if my lips are burning from the salt, there's too damn much.
#18
Old 02-01-2012, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by WotNot View Post
No, no. Salt first, then vinegar. The oil on the chips will repel the vinegar, but if you put the salt on first, it will cling to the grease, and then absorb the vinegar.
Well I say the salt bounces off unless the chips are wet with vinegar.

Pistols at dawn, sir!
#19
Old 02-01-2012, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
Canadians use white vinegar
reported
#20
Old 02-02-2012, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
Well I say the salt bounces off unless the chips are wet with vinegar.

Pistols at dawn, sir!
I used to work in a chippie and I used to vinegar before salt.

Ergo I am right, as is Hello Again.

QED.
#21
Old 02-02-2012, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by amanset View Post
I used to work in a chippie and I used to vinegar before salt.
The key question though is was it a good chipper? Because let's be honest, the scale ranges from the very, very good to the absolutely dreadful, so you need to establish your credentials here: Charlottes or Maris? Beef dripping or lard? Parboiled? Double dipped?

It's a sad fact that these days, most chippies churn out really awful chips. This is particularly true in Scotland, where chips tend to resemble greasy paper tubes of mash rather than the crispy, fluffy perfection they should be.
#22
Old 02-02-2012, 05:10 AM
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British chips aren't fries. That is, we don't just have a different name for the same thing - they're a subtly different product - as such, a certain degree of 'soggy' is quite acceptable.

The chips will usually be a very diverse mix of sized (if only because they're cut from whole potatoes and all of the resulting pieces are used - so the small slivers tend to cook crisp and stay that way, whilst the thicker pieces will be crispy at the ends, but fluffy and luscious toward the middle.

They're not so highly-cooked as French fries might be. They shouldn't rattle or rustle. (IMO, YMMV)
#23
Old 02-02-2012, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary Kumquat View Post
The key question though is was it a good chipper? Because let's be honest, the scale ranges from the very, very good to the absolutely dreadful, so you need to establish your credentials here: Charlottes or Maris? Beef dripping or lard? Parboiled? Double dipped?

It's a sad fact that these days, most chippies churn out really awful chips. This is particularly true in Scotland, where chips tend to resemble greasy paper tubes of mash rather than the crispy, fluffy perfection they should be.
Of course it was good, I worked there. What're you implying, son?
#24
Old 02-02-2012, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
Well I say the salt bounces off unless the chips are wet with vinegar.

Pistols at dawn, sir!
There is a peaceful solution! Light vinegar, salt then more vinegar.

Repeated applications as the pile of fries is reduced.
#25
Old 02-02-2012, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Moonlitherial View Post
There is a peaceful solution! Light vinegar, salt then more vinegar.

Repeated applications as the pile of fries is reduced.
Chips, babe.
#26
Old 02-02-2012, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Moonlitherial View Post
There is a peaceful solution! Light vinegar, salt then more vinegar.
But then the new vinegar washes the salt off! Traggedia.
#27
Old 02-02-2012, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Moonlitherial View Post
There is a peaceful solution!
The U.N. called. They need your help with some situations.
#28
Old 02-02-2012, 10:50 AM
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Could someone do me a solid?

Please go to Google Images and search for fish & chips. Next, select the image that best represents a proper British serving of the dish and link to it here.

Thanks.


mmm
#29
Old 02-02-2012, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by grude View Post
Ok so I developed a love of vinegar and salt flavored potato chips, which seem to be being slowly discontinued as the number of groceries that carry them is dwindling.
I loves me some steak fries drizzled with malt vinegar and sprinkled with a generous degree of salt.

OTOH, I find the flavor of "salt & vinegar-flavored" potato chips (British crisps) to be too strong and concentrated. My mouth puckers, the things are so strongly "flavored."
#30
Old 02-02-2012, 11:07 AM
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I used to get a basket of fries...yes, fries, American style...at a place that just used the whole potato, so they were much thicker than normal fries, but still...fries.

Perfection is:

One basket of 'fries'

One bottle of malt vinegar ready to shake

Salt heavily, sprinkle vinegar everywhere, and then...

dip salted, vinegar'd fries into a mixture of ranch dressing and hot sauce.

YUM!!
#31
Old 02-02-2012, 11:07 AM
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White vinegar is not advisable, but to insist on malt is needlessly purist. As a Brit, who loves his chips and vinegar, and who lived 20 years in the USA, I can assure you that the cider vinegar commonly available in US supermarkets is perfectly fine for the purpose. Wine vinegar will do, at a pinch.

In fact most British chip shops (last time I looked) do not actually use malt vinegar, even though it is the traditional thing to use, and is readily and cheaply available in grocery stores. What the chippies actually use is non-brewed condiment. That is not a recommendation, although it also suffices. The fact is that most British Fish and Chip shops are not all that good (although there are many excellent exceptions). The fancier, more expensive ones (which are not necessarily the best ones) may well use real malt vinegar.

Incidentally (although it is not really relevant to the OP), when you buy fish and chips at a British chippie, they will generally offer to put salt and vinegar on before they wrap it up (no longer in newspaper, thank goodness). Unless you are planning to eat the stuff right away, by hand in the street, turn down this offer, take it home (or eat at a table in the shop, if they have them) and put on your own salt and vinegar. If it is put on in the store and them wrapped up, it will just make everything soggy.
#32
Old 02-02-2012, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
Could someone do me a solid?

Please go to Google Images and search for fish & chips. Next, select the image that best represents a proper British serving of the dish and link to it here.

Thanks.
I'm really hungry now...

http://therecipeblog.co.uk/wp-co...sh-n-chips.jpg

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/...ps_791873c.jpg

The fish in the second one has too much batter for my liking, but should give you an idea. The mushy peas are supposedly traditional but I very controversially go with tomato ketchup or baked beans...
#33
Old 02-02-2012, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
Could someone do me a solid?

Please go to Google Images and search for fish & chips. Next, select the image that best represents a proper British serving of the dish and link to it here.

Thanks.


mmm
Here you go

http://google.co.uk/imgres?q=Fis...:429,r:16,s:18

It got extra points because of the blue plastic fork
#34
Old 02-02-2012, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
Could someone do me a solid?

Please go to Google Images and search for fish & chips. Next, select the image that best represents a proper British serving of the dish and link to it here.

Thanks.


mmm
This looks realistic, except that nearly all the chips seem to have been eaten. In my recent experience in the UK, a regular helping will get you a pretty large, single piece of fish and a huge buttload of chips, really plenty enough for two or even more people.
#35
Old 02-02-2012, 11:25 AM
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These pics you guys are linking to look exactly like what you get in the States.
#36
Old 02-02-2012, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by One And Only Wanderers View Post
Here you go

http://google.co.uk/imgres?q=Fis...:429,r:16,s:18

It got extra points because of the blue plastic fork
Harry Ramsden's is an abomination, and utterly atypical of regular British chip shops. A proper chippie (like teh one a couple of blocks from me) will not serve it up in a styrofoam tray, will not give you a plastic fork, and will give you at least twice the amount of fish and 4 or 5 times the amount of chips shown there.
#37
Old 02-02-2012, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by levdrakon View Post
These pics you guys are linking to look exactly like what you get in the States.
Well, it is all fish and chips, how different do you expect it to be? After all, most American fish and chips is consciously imitating the British original. That said, I think this is more like what you would typically get in America, except that often, in America, you get several small pieces of fish rather than one large one (and that would be rare in Britain).

It is perfectly possible to get good fish and chips in America, and not uncommon to get crappy stuff in Britain (as the Harry Ramsden's link above exemplifies).
#38
Old 02-02-2012, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
Could someone do me a solid?

Please go to Google Images and search for fish & chips. Next, select the image that best represents a proper British serving of the dish and link to it here.

Thanks.


mmm
You have no idea how hungry this has made me. And living in a country with no chippies, I can't even buy some on the way home.

http://pbase.com/orac/image/19764773
#39
Old 02-02-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by One And Only Wanderers View Post
Here you go

http://google.co.uk/imgres?q=Fis...:429,r:16,s:18

It got extra points because of the blue plastic fork
Forks and trays are for the weak.
#40
Old 02-02-2012, 11:47 AM
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This looks realistic, except that nearly all the chips seem to have been eaten. In my recent experience in the UK, a regular helping will get you a pretty large, single piece of fish and a huge buttload of chips, really plenty enough for two or even more people.
Shit, you chose the same one as me.

FISH AND CHIP BUDDIES.
#41
Old 02-02-2012, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Well, it is all fish and chips, how different do you expect it to be? After all, most American fish and chips is consciously imitating the British original. That said, I think this is more like what you would typically get in America, except that often, in America, you get several small pieces of fish rather than one large one (and that would be rare in Britain).

It is perfectly possible to get good fish and chips in America, and not uncommon to get crappy stuff in Britain (as the Harry Ramsden's link above exemplifies).
What the hell is that green stuff?
#42
Old 02-02-2012, 11:54 AM
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Christ, why did I read this an hour before I can eat? I'm literally drooling here*. On the plus side, I now know what I'm having for my tea.

* For the second time today after reading the Indian food thread

Last edited by Baron Greenback; 02-02-2012 at 11:57 AM.
#43
Old 02-02-2012, 11:58 AM
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On the plus side, I now know what I'm having for my tea.
Bastard.
#44
Old 02-02-2012, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by amanset View Post
What the hell is that green stuff?
Cole slaw.
#45
Old 02-02-2012, 12:05 PM
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Bastard.
To make you feel a little better, the local chippie isn't all that great.
#46
Old 02-02-2012, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
Cole slaw.
What?
#47
Old 02-02-2012, 12:10 PM
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Grude, you haven't given your location, but if you're close to the Canadian border, our salt and vinegar chips aren't going away any time soon. Try the dill pickle and ketchup flavours while you're at it.
#48
Old 02-02-2012, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by levdrakon View Post
What?
HE SAID COLE SLAW!i!
#49
Old 02-02-2012, 12:46 PM
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Why sprinkle the vinegar on? The few times I've been in the UK, I've just shaken a huge puddle of vinegar on my plate and dipped. You get more vinegar AND things don't get soggy. Win/Win
#50
Old 02-02-2012, 12:52 PM
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Hello world. Long time lurker and ageing Londoner.

I've eaten a lot of fish and chips. The image linked by amanset http://pbase.com/orac/image/19764773 is is what I expect to see from a chippy anywhere in Britain.

Crisps (potato chips?) never taste like the things they're named after. The crisp flavour is OK for crisps I suppose.

To the OP, I would suggest: poke a few holes in the fish batter first, sprinkle salt and vinegar over all to start; then add more as necessary. I suspect vinegar mostly runs off and takes salt with it, at least that's how it seems to me. And beware of battered fish lying in vinegar pools.

I remember as a child, eating fish and chips wrapped in newspaper but there was always a layer or two of greaseproof paper between the food and newsprint. By the time I was old enough to buy chips on my own (for six pre-decimal pence!) the chippys I knew didn't use it. Having a folded paper container gets round the vinegar pooling problem - because it leaks out.

But I only liked cod and rarely eat chips now.
I prefer the new traditional English meal: curry.

Last edited by MrStrangeloop; 02-02-2012 at 12:53 PM. Reason: typo
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