The February 2012 issue of BBC Olive magazine – the real BBC Olive, not the overpriced local knock-off which I find too pretentious to be appealing to most local foodies – said that February 20th to 26th of this year is National Chip Week in the United Kingdom. Seeing how it coincides with Shrove Tuesday (21st Feb.) and, ironically, Ash Wednesday (yesterday), it pretty much gives Brits license to munch on those gloriously fat, deep-fried, crisp on the outside / mushy within potato fingers that are so much more substantial than those skinny American (or French) fries.
I confess, however, that I’m all thumbs when it comes to cooking potato chips at home. No matter what I do – blanching the spuds before frying, amping up the heat – mine are always limp and soggy. That said, I leave cooking chips to the experts, so my best chip experiences are always store-bought.
Now, while chips are lovely enough on their own, they’re usually sold alongside sandwiches, roasts, and other more substantial viands. Indeed, the best chips I’ve had so far this year are the potato fries that came with my soft pork tacos at Kalbi, a new Korean-Mexican fusion stand over at Glorietta’s Food Choices. Now, while the whole Korean-Mexican spin sounds rather iffy, I have to say that it works especially where chips are concerned.
These spuds are first lightly coated in a tempura-style batter before frying. Immediately afterwards, these are tossed in an incredibly tasty mix of salt, black pepper, and dried chili flakes. The counter staff will give you tubs of ketchup and mayo to go with these bad boys, but you’re better off noshing them sans condiments. The crisp outside and the soft, fluffy insides have great flavor and the addition of both black pepper and chili make them absolutely addictive.
Kalbi also offers similarly prepared and seasoned onion rings, but I’ll stick to the chips – with or without a soft taco on the side!