The Unique Way People In South Africa Eat Their Fries

One of the greatest things about potatoes is that you can use them to make french fries. The average American eats around 30 pounds of these fried spuds each year (via The Daily Meal), and to put that in perspective, that's about the size of most 2- or 3-year-old children (via Spark People). That's a lot of french fries, but you do have to admit that they really are the greatest thing since sliced bread. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy their hot, deep-fried, salty, and crispy goodness. 

Whether you call them frits or chips or fries, a rose by any other name, well, those would be slaptjips, pronounced slup chips (via Ozy). Slap chips are the South African version of french fries. The word "slap" in Afrikaans means "limp, flabby, or soft." This delicacy of the Rainbow Nation is best described as soft on the outside and mushy on the inside. It may seem like a unique way to eat fries, but in South Africa, slap chip stands and vendors are as ubiquitous as taco shops in the U.S.  You can find them on every corner. 

What sets these fries apart from other fries is not only how they are made, but one simple ingredient that is key to putting the slap in slaptjips. What is this ingredient?

The ingredient used to make South African fries

To make slaptjips you have to start with peeled, cut potatoes which should then be soaked in a bucket of water. This step is necessary before frying them up, which helps keep them from turning brown as well as to help eliminate any burning. This South African version of French fries is fried at a lower temperature for a longer time, which makes for a greasier product and lends to the limp nature you are trying to achieve. 

Deep-frying the chips can take anywhere from eight to 10 minutes. After they are drained, they start turning "slap" which is helped along by dousing them with the not-so-secret ingredient — vinegar. Vinegar on fries may sound gross, but even fast food hamburger chain Five Guys has malt vinegar on hand just for sprinkling on your fries. A South African purveyor of slap chips says that the real secret to making this deep-fried deliciousness is frying the potatoes only once. No refrying, or you won't get the prized soggy fries that you didn't know you wanted to eat. 

Another unique aspect of these fries is how they are consumed. Eating your slap fries between two slices of bread is a favorite way for locals to enjoy them. But don't worry, if you are not a fan of that idea, the majority of people enjoy them with a drizzle of vinegar or even a shake of masala (via Cape Town TC).