Skip to content

This Is What They Call French Fries in France

Yeah, they don't call them "French fries" there...
Garlic fries

It happens to all of us: You're in the shower or falling asleep when oddly specific questions come to mind. Sure, they might not make a ton of sense or impact your daily life, but once you start thinking about them, you just have to know the answer. Well, the next time your brain starts down that hazy train of thought, you'll be armed with the answer to at least one of those questions: what they call French fries in France.

What do French people call fries?

If you've ordered steak frites at a fancy restaurant, you're halfway there. In France, fries are "frites," or pommes frites, if you're being specific. (And if you happen to live in the New York area, you can get a taste for the term, and for Belgian-style fries, at the aptly named Pommes Frites restaurant.)

Of course, if you order fries at a French restaurant, servers used to American tourists will probably know what you're talking about, but you might get a few funny looks if you use the term "French fries" outside of the United States, especially in France.

Why do Americans call them French fries?

While the official origin of fries isn't totally clear, fries likely originated in Belgium, National Geographic reported. As legend has it, "French fries" got their nickname during World War I. American soldiers stationed in Belgium dubbed the tasty treat "French" because French was southern Belgium's dominant language, National Geographic explains.

More on Food & Nutrition

  • Frying eggs in pan

    What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs

    The mighty egg has incredible health benefits.
  • Iced coffee

    5 Side Effects of Too Much Coffee

    Health benefits aside, there is such a thing as too much.
  • Woman emotional eating chips on couch scrolling through phone

    5 Ways to Quit Emotional Eating for Good

    You might be an emotional eater and not even know it.
  • Broccoli bowl

    40 Foods Nutritionists Eat Every Day

    Time to add these into your daily diet.
  • What Happens To Your Body When You're Hangry

    What Happens To Your Body When You're Hangry

    Here's why you're likely to get angry when your blood sugar's low.

If you find yourself in Belgium, though, you'll definitely want to call them "frites," or just fries. At least Belgian waffles are properly attributed to their country of origin?

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Where can you get the best French fries?

shake shack large fries
Courtesy of Shake Shack

If all this talk of fried potatoes is leaving you hungry, we've got you covered. Our Eat This, Not That! team taste-tested fries from some of the top fast-food chains in the country, and we found Shake Shake's fries were the best. The crunchy, salty crinkle-cut fries won many of our editors over.

Don't live near a Shake Shack location? The chain gets their fries delivered frozen—they actually tested out fresh fries a few years ago, only to find fans preferred the frozen option. So while it's not quite the same, grabbing a bag of frozen Ore-Ida or Nathan's fries will hit that crinkle-cut craving, too.

And if you're looking to whip up a batch of your own fries at home, you can't go wrong with this baked French fries recipe. Frites, fries, chips if you're British…whatever you call them, these spuds are unbeatable.

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more
Filed Under