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Patat Oorlog Guide

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Food Guide
"French" Fries?

French fries would be considered a standard snack in Belgium, Scandinavia and many other places in Europe, but only in the Netherlands does this cultural fusion exist. In Dutch patatje oorlog means "war chips" and is a tasty combination of French fries, mayo, raw onions and Indonesian sate sauce. Sate is one of Indonesia's most famous dishes. A spicy mix of peanuts, turmeric, ginger, kecap manis, chili and other regional spices are blended with coconut milk as a sauce for various meat skewers. The colonial spice trade brought this dish back to Holland, and like rijsttafel has been assimilated into Dutch culture.

A deliciuos blend of sauces

Patat oorlog starts with hand-cut chips that are part cooked before a second deep fry gives them their golden colour and distinctive texture. Two sauces are required for the dressing along with finely chopped onion. Room-temperature mayonnaise is the first sauce; the second is a peanut sauce bulked out with peanut butter to provide the necessary stickiness that will cling to the chips. That is accented with chilli, olek sambal, sweet soy sauce and liquid seasoning.

The satay-style sauce has its origins in the former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, whose influence on local cuisine has been as significant as India’s has on the British palate. As befitting a street food, there isn’t much science to it. The chips are placed in a basket, bowl or paper cup; a dollop of mayonnaise is plopped on top; the peanut sauce lands with a “glop” and the chopped onions arrive alongside.

The “war” name probably comes from the fact that pretty soon the whole plate looks like a battlefield with chips, sauces and onion. They might be “War Fries”, but once enjoyed this street food, you-re gonna be at peace with the world.