"Best French Fries" Food Truck: Belgian-Style Chips

Lake Worth resident Debbie Harris didn't name her food truck Best French Fries for nothing. She's pretty sure the fries served from her food truck -- which hit Palm Beach County streets late September -- are some of the best around.

Why? Harris isn't serving your typical fries. She's making "chips," the European counterpart to our Americanized fast-food version.

Harris' obsession with finding the perfect fries began a few years ago during a trip overseas to visit her British-born husband's family and friends.

"We were all over [Europe], and had so much good food, but we just fell in love with the fries," Harris told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. 

Specifically, Beligan frites -- unofficially the small country's favorite food, served from more than 4,000 stands or carts known as chipperies, frietkots, or frituuren found almost almost everywhere you could think to put a fryer. 

Turns out the Belgians really love their fries -- so much so they even have a museum dedicated to the chip and a National Association of Chipmakers, a 1,500-member professional team of chip-friers. With so many chips to sample, Harris started thinking "how popular these European frites -- which are served in paper cones with as many as 30 different dipping sauces -- could be here in the U.S."

So what makes European chips different from American fries? 

According to Harris, a double-fry process that ensures the chip is "really crispy and crunchy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside." The Belgians have a special two-step system for cooking bintjes potato (a slightly floury variety of potato), beginning with soaking thick, hand-cut slices of potato in water for several hours, then drying. Next, a quick dip in a hot fryer before removing to drain and cool. Only when an order is placed are they given a second dip in super-hot oil (typically a vegetable oil or beef fat for added flavor) before being served in a paper cone with a choice of specialty dipping sauces.

To replicate the process stateside, Harris decided to go the way of the truck, outfitting a used model with three fryers and a convection oven. She starts by hand-cutting Yukon Gold potatoes -- as well as sweet potato and yucca -- into thick strips. After a quick dip in corn oil, the fries are drained and cooled. 

Place an order and Harris gives your frites a second fry, then serves them in her own custom-made, cone-shaped container designed to hold any four of her more than 20 housemade dipping sauces. They can also be ordered twice-baked, and all orders come with your choice of two dipping sauces, as well as the option to "mix" for those who want a taste of all three fries. The cost: about $4-$6 depending on how many added 50-cent sauces you request.

We couldn't help but notice Best French Fries "dessert" cone, served funnel-cake style with plenty of powdered sugar alongside a gooey marshmallow sauce and chocolate syrup. But are they the best? You'll have to take your own taste-test and find out!

To find Best French Fries next serving station, be sure to check the food truck's Facebook page, or follow their Twitter feed.



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