How ‘bout some Fries?




Daniel Penso


Sitting there in my college dorm learning how to write complex Kanji such as Bara (薔薇: Rose), I never contemplated that I’d be raving about French fries when I came to Tokyo.

French fries, which don’t even bear that name in France (they’re called “Pommes frites” there) and are originally from Belgium of all places, are a big hit in Tokyo. You can find them served at almost any food joint that serves hamburgers, where they act as sidekicks. They are sold at the myriad of fast-food restaurants in Tokyo such as Lotteria, First Kitchen and the big American chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s of course.

But what will knock your socks off is the flavoring of the fries…You can find fries that are flavored with butter and soy sauce, known as bataajoyu (バター醤油) to the Japanese speaker, Napolitan spaghetti fries, cheese fries, seaweed with a Kishu ume (紀州梅: Japanese plum) flavored fries!!! …And a whole bunch more.

So next time you’re in Tokyo, after checking out the kabuki or going to a museum, how about an order of fries at a local fast-food chain?  


Daniel Penso

Lived in Tokyo from 1999 – 2009 and calls it his second home. Currently he resides in Oregon and is a Japanese-English translator. He enjoys traveling, learning languages and cuisine. When visiting Japan, he enjoys watching rakugo shows.
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