The French Fry Report

Everyone loves french fries, and this popular side dish is a perennial favorite on fast food restaurant menus. Soft or crispy, salty or spicy, which do you prefer? 


Everyone loves french fries, and this popular side dish is a perennial favorite on fast food restaurant menus. Soft or crispy, salty or spicy, which do you prefer? Sophie Wang tastes five versions from restaurants reputed to have great fries and gives her verdict. 

Tools: A scale, a ruler and several oil-absorbing sheets

Sophie Wang / SHINE

French Fries from five restaurants in Shanghai

Sophie Wang / SHINE

First, put each fry on the table, and measure their length.

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Second, put all the fries on the scale and weigh them.

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Third, put each kind of fries on an oil-absorbing sheet for a while, and observe the sheets.

Sophie Wang / SHINE
Sophie Wang / SHINE
Sophie Wang / SHINE
Sophie Wang / SHINE

The capacity of oil of each kind of French fries

Sophie Wang / SHINE

Laya Burger

Holin Wang / SHINE

As an American-style restaurant from Taiwan, it serves a classic American menu of burgers, spaghetti, hot dogs, quesadillas — and, of course, the ubiquitous fries: the classic crispy fries, sweet potato fries and onion ring and waffle fries.

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Name: Crispy Fries

Price: 19 yuan (US$2.8) (0.078yuan/g)

Sauce: Tomato ketchup

Taste: Crispy outside and fluffy inside, not overly salty. Served straight from the fryer, pleasantly hot. Delicious paired with the sweet tomato ketchup.

Big Bamboo

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One of Shanghai’s most popular and longest running sports bars, it is the place to go for a beer and pretty much any televised sporting event. It hosts live feeds of virtually all championship games, and offers daily happy hour specials and drink deals. French fries here include classic fries, snakebite chili cheese fries, poutine and potato wedges.

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Name: Classic Fries

Price: 50 yuan (0.175yuan/g)

Sauce: Tomato ketchup

Taste: Big Bamboo’s golden fries are thick, crispy, sprinkled with salt — and very tasty! Add gravy for an extra 5 yuan.

Outback Steakhouse

Holin Wang / SHINE

This Australian-inspired steakhouse serves up a wide variety of steaks, grilled chicken, ribs and fresh seafood. The drinks list, featuring cocktails, wines, premium liquors, and beer is also impressive. When it comes to fries, diners can choose between potatoes and sweet potatoes.

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Name: Potato Fries

Price: 10 yuan (0.078yuan/g)

Sauce: Tomato ketchup

Taste: The Outback’s soft, salty, slightly spicy fries retain some of their peel, which gives them an interesting texture. Black pepper, sprinkled on the surface, contributes to the rich flavor, but the proportion of scorched fries is higher than at the other restaurants.

Boxing Cat Brewery

Holin Wang / SHINE

One of China’s first microbreweries, it features craft beer, well-made American comfort food and great friendly service. Fries include their classic thick cut french fries, sweet potato fries and chili cheese fries.

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Name: Thick Cut French Fries

Price: 35 yuan (0.125yuan/g)

Sauce: BCB House Sauce

Taste: BCB’s wide, flat fries don’t look or taste the same as the others. Softer, with salt and a little scallion on their surface, they have a rich taste. Paired with the BCB House Sauce, which is actually alioli, the fries are especially sweet and spicy — very impressive.

The Isles Fish & Chips

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If you miss your fish ‘n’ chips, it is the place to go. Fish choices include cod and plaice and the accompanying chips are quite well done. There is also a good salad selection as well as interesting dishes like Spanish chicken rice and a seafood risotto. In addition to traditional chips, the menu includes flavored chips such as barbecue, garlic, and seaweed.

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Name: Traditional English Chips

Price: 19 yuan (0.087yuan/g)

Sauce: Tomato ketchup

Taste: Crispy, brown and fresh from the fryer, these fries are sprinkled with fine salt but are not very salty. A squeeze of lemon enhances the flavor. An ideal complement to the fish. 



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