Summer time learn: Alex Casey goes on an odyssey to search out New Zealand’s greatest quick meals fries.
First revealed April 3, 2021
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I’ll be the primary to confess that I’ve gone burger mad over the previous couple of years, largely because of the rising vary of meat-free options available. And as somebody who firmly believes that the order of combo consumption ought to be burger first, then fries, my fry expertise is commonly unhappy and Stone Chilly by the point I get round to them. This week, as the new chip trade finds itself facing an absolute glut of the stuff, I wished to reconnect with the standard fry and have fun their place in our lives.
A notice on scope and metrics: this a fast-food rating, which suggests I’ve solely visited chains that decision themselves quick meals, or have a drive-thru, or have their very own in-house supply system. An apparent omission from this checklist is BurgerFuel, house of very highly effective fries (or is it largely highly effective aioli?). Sadly, BurgerFuel considers themselves “fast-casual” (which additionally describes the velocity at which I stroll to the kitchen when there are free promotional cupcakes on provide) so they’re a no-go.
Kūmara? That’s a distinct dialog. Wedges? Approach to drive a wedge on this specific discourse. Criss reduce? Extra like Criss Angel, as a result of I don’t have the capability to cope with that type of sorcery right now. This rating is all in regards to the good previous humble potato fry. The chippy. The pomme frite, in case you contemplate your self the Queen of France. Every batch was consumed with no sauce and no further seasoning, purely on an “as is, the place is” foundation and all in regrettably fast succession:
9) Burger King ($3.30)
Once I arrived on the Burger King on the backside of Queen Avenue, I instantly clocked a former actuality tv star, which I believe we are able to all agree is a very good omen for any fantastic eating institution. The celeb in query was the proper honourable Ben Blackwell, a former Married at First Sight NZ groom whose wedding I attended in 2017. Later, I’d message him and get his suggestions on his BK fries. “They had been rubbish,” he divulged, “dry and lacked salt”.
I’ve to position Burger King firmly final within the fry stakes. Extraordinarily inconsistent shading, extraordinarily dry, nearly no discernible flavour in any respect. I desperately stuffed 5 in my mouth without delay and was momentarily transported to H20 Xtream in Higher Hutt. The yr is 1998. I’m having a bowl of chemically-tasting wave pool chippies to have fun my pal Jasmine’s birthday. Right away, the completely happy reminiscence is gone. The yr is 2021. I’m alone, upstairs in a drained Burger King, tasting so little flavour that I’m instantly involved that I’ve Covid-19. No less than I’ve been scanning in.
8) Wendy’s ($3.50)
As a lot as I respect and admire Wendy as a trailblazing lady in a male-dominated trade, these fries are frankly setting again the motion by 100 years. Positive, they’re generously sized – usually bordering on Salad Fingers size – however there’s no magic right here. They’re pale, frivolously salted and thicker than your common, a traditional fairground fry with none of the enjoyable. These poor fries are crying out to be chucked in a newsprint pottle with some day-glo candy tomato sauce, however I’ve to respect the principles of the experiment. As is, the place is. No exceptions. As I noshed down on the tasteless, starchy fry, I watched the great individuals of Queen Avenue mooch forwards and backwards throughout the massive Civic pedestrian crossing. A businessman on a Beam scooter almost stunned an previous girl. A seagull hitched a trip on the roof of a boy racer automobile emblazoned with attractive girl stickers. Possibly the fairground was proper in entrance of us all alongside. I took a handful of Wendy’s fries exterior to feed the daredevil gulls and so they all instantly flew away.
7) Taco Bell $3.50
“These is likely to be just a little scorching” the younger lad warned as he slid over the Taco Bell tray with a really stonking bag of chips on it. I’m informed by a colleague that fries aren’t a part of the Taco Bell canon in the US, so was curious to see their spin on a Kiwi traditional. These signature “Mexican fries” had been coated in a boatload of seasoning that was candy, spicy, a bit smoky and rather a lot tomato. And the lad was proper – they had been scorching as all holy hell.
Biguns. I don’t need my fries to style like Biguns. Props for a really beneficiant portion, however total, an awesome and complicated culinary expertise. A former radio persona from The Edge walked in as I used to be leaving. Celebrities: they are surely identical to us?
6) Domino’s ($4.99)
I’m not going to lie, each a part of this Domino’s fry expertise was a shock. I wasn’t anticipating my title up in lights, misspelled as “ALY” in-store like I used to be an precise star being born. I wasn’t anticipating the artisanal coffin-style cardboard field. And I used to be NOT anticipating posh shoestrings – the Dominos of yonder-year being a chunky previous oven chip expertise. They had been sprinkled with a yellowy seasoning, with the occasional suggestion of chargrilled oven-y black bits. Frankly, I used to be surprised.They had been chilly, however I’ll put on that one. Aly, all the time late. Maybe as a result of they’d been sitting within the field for a couple of minutes, they had been barely soggy and had a glum chalky consistency that jarred with the sunny yellow shade. “I really like the scale,” says my fellow fry reviewer, “it’s like McDonald’s midway by means of rising as much as grownup KFC.” He ate one other. “They style like oven fries. Not the most effective oven fries however I weirdly nonetheless find it irresistible.” We’re removed from the shallows now.
5) Texas Rooster ($3.60)
These had been essentially the most crispy bunch of golden ladies I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Texas Rooster is a brand new expertise for me, however I used to be inquisitive about their fries that function just a little sprint of rooster salt on your nerves. “We fry issues. It’s what we do. So after all we’ve got the most effective fries,” the web site boasted. “Straight reduce and crisp, they’re the proper accompaniment to our rooster. However they’re adequate to have all by themselves.” With respect to all of Texas, I’ll be the choose of that.
The very first thing I wrote down after first chunk was “main Fowl’s Eye vibes”. Keep in mind when Fowl’s Eye Golden Crunch Oven Fries first got here out and there was that advert with the family crunching loudly through the movie? Very same power. Once you chunk this fry, it bites you proper again. “Higher than BK, higher than Wendy’s” murmured my confederate by means of an acute case of Potato Throat, “these ones are straight down the center for me.”
4) Carl’s Jr ($3.30)
What a completely CLASSIC fry. Carl himself promotes these as “premium high quality, skin-on, natural-cut French fries” and admittedly, he’s appropriate. These fries don’t look like closely seasoned to the bare eye, however upon the primary chunk there’s some form of witchcraft occurring with the salt. They really style like they’re seasoned with the depth of a wedge, however in a approach that’s utterly invisible. Dazzling in its simplicity and confidence, the one draw back was having to withstand the urge to drown them in mayo. Keep in mind when Carl’s Jr first opened and you can use all of the free of charge mayo, sauces and salsas? Take me again.
3) Pizza Hut ($3.99)
I had excessive, excessive hopes for the Hut. It was in all probability largely out of nostalgia for the times of all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants, the cheerful “0800 83 83 83” jingle, and that particular trapezoid roof. “I really feel very nostalgic for consuming these chips and enjoying video video games,” my chip confederate mused. I felt nostalgic for New Lynn, for vivid inexperienced jelly and delicate serve, and throwing up on the best way house. There’s one main factor going for these fries. As the one crinkle reduce provide obtainable, these curvy wee numbers can seize onto further salt and flavour in a approach that their straight-laced brothers and sisters can not. Alas, they’re additionally extraordinarily thick and may flip actual soggy, actual quick. The highest ones are yum as, however as you’re employed your approach down it’s diminishing returns. Identical to life, actually.
2) McDonald’s ($3.40)
A divine fry expertise. Apparent, timeless, protected, inevitable. Once I washed up at Britomart McDonald’s, I used to be warmly welcomed by this small comforting baggie prefer it was an previous pal. These fries had been pale, salty and barely sweaty, identical to me. They had been extraordinarily uniform in size, shade and form, and as a lot as I didn’t need to give props to The Clown, typically you simply can’t mess with a traditional. They’re, clearly, improved dramatically with McDonald’s ketchup, however I had to withstand. Guidelines are guidelines.
Simply an apart, in case you’re aiming for “dinner and a present” out of your meals, these fries are excellent for doing Chip Walrus. As I picked on the chippies, two high-flying lawyer-types close by began speaking about “the case” and “their salaries” at an alarmingly excessive quantity. They had been each consuming burgers from the Gourmand Vary however, curiously, neither of them ordered fries. I assume cash can’t purchase style. I hoovered up the crumbs and left, completely glad if not just a little thirsty.
1) KFC ($3.79)
Earlier than you begin, I do know: KFC fries can have their dangerous days. However the batch that I assessed from their fancy Fort Avenue idea retailer was world-beating. To start with, they had been so piping scorching that I felt my fingerprints scorching off. However somewhat than ache, I felt exhilarated and able to lastly fall into a lifetime of organised crime with out the coppers on me tail. The person subsequent to me, additionally fighting the warmth, made a sheepish face as he dropped a fry in agony. He might be a part of me on the primary diamond heist. potato on a Zoom call. However what really units them aside is the rooster salt, a signature seasoning so coveted that they stopped leaving the shakers out as a result of individuals saved nicking them. They’re crispy however not crunchy, cushiony however not too delicate and, as sagely identified by New Zealand’s main chip and KFC expert, exist totally with out sauce even needing to enter your ideas.These fries are merely the proper girth – extra physique than a shoestring, however not so thick that you just really feel your self turning right into a
Congrats to the Colonel, you’ve triumphed over clown, King and Wendy to take house this coveted win.