It’s no secret New Zealand is a land of chip-lovers, but these days your standard deep-fried chips are being transported to new heights everywhere you turn. Enter: “Loaded fries”. Essentially, an extravagant and seriously crave-able combination involving hot chips of varying forms, covered in an array of meat, cheese, sauce, pickles and other tempting toppings and served up as a one-dish wonder.
Hailing from the Americas, through the influence of “cheese fries”, and Canada, where the nationally acclaimed dish is “poutine” (involving cheese curds and gravy, poured on top of crunchy fries). The trend has trickled down through the food world, gained momentum, and eventually made its way onto our shores. Proven by its presence on QSR restaurant menus, to brunch hot-spots and the classic diner-style establishments such as Auckland’s popular ‘Federal Street Deli’.
Being topped with everything from Turkish meat and tzatziki, to beef brisket, chorizo and chilli cheese, while somewhat fancified versions include ingredients such as truffle salt, sauerkraut and confit duck. It is this form that hot chips are transformed from a potentially standard side dish to glorified, instagram-worthy, edible works of art. With the addition of fiery sriracha, pink pickled onions and secret sauces adding both visual and taste-appeal. It’s smart for business too, as a few extra toppings can turn a relatively cheap snack-food into a higher-value and comforting meal.
For those in the know, ‘cheesy-weezies’ may well be our NZ claim to fame in the loaded fries department. A popular ‘off-the-menu’ item that can be ordered from your local chippie. It is essentially a scoop (or two) of deep-fried chips, covered in classic sauces, (such as tartare and tomato) and sprinkled with melted cheese. They are wrapped up in the standard newsprint and after just a few minutes the cheese melts and you are left with an absurdly messy, moreish and finger-licking feast. Not glamorous, and certainly not oozing with health – but a novel treat all the same.
But the key to achieve ultimate satisfaction is that the chips themselves, as the core of the dish, need to be cooked well, ideally following the Chip Group’s Industry Standard. That means deep-frying at the correct temperature, for the right time, in high quality, clean and well-maintained oil to ensure a crispy, golden and satisfying base for all of your loaded fries combinations. For more information on what it takes to cook the best-tasting, lowest fat chips, head to – www.thechipgroup.co.nz.
Potatoes NZ / The Chip Group