What is about to come is an entirely agreeable and uncontroversial statement, because it’s important to have one of these in an article like this – something we can all nod our heads to and say: “Yes, that is correct”. Ready? Chips are nice.
See, told you. They are, though, aren’t they. Everyone likes chips, but you can’t have them on their own. Plain chips are boring, so you need a sauce or something – a chip enhancer, basically, to help us get the best out of our potatoes.
So here’s the list – a definitive power ranking of all the stuff we put on chips – and before you start arguing, I have to inform you that it is 100% factual and correct. Cool.
Vinegar is the old fashioned traditionalist. If it was capable of holding opinions, it would hate selfies, wish Britain would go back to making stuff again - we don’t make stuff anymore - and think, actually, you know what, Nigel Farage has some decent points. Vinegar is Brexit for chips.
13. Hot sauce
Hot sauce is really good. Us millennials, we love hot sauce - Sriracha, knock-off brands that look exactly like Sriracha, we’ll eat ‘em all. I have hot sauce on like, half my meals at home. It’s not a sauce for chips though - it doesn’t enhance the flavour of a chip like it does a piece of chicken, so it’s done shit here.
12. BBQ sauce
BBQ sauce is one of those things that’s way nicer as a kid than as an adult, probably because it has a fuckton of sugar in it. It’s really, really sweet. Still good, but too sickly to keep going back to again and again with a whole portion of chips.
You could argue chili shouldn’t really be on this list. I might even argue chili shouldn’t be on this list, because heaping a whole load of chili con carne on top of your fries makes it feel more like an actual meal though. It just about scrapes in, but may as well not have, because it scores rubbishly. Not because it doesn’t taste good, but because it’s way too inconvenient. You can’t eat chili fries without getting it everywhere, and chips are supposed to be an easy eat. Too messy. Too much hassle.
For anyone who’s never been Up North, scraps are little bits of excess (scrap) batter which you can get on top of your chips in chippies, you know, for when you just need that little bit more grease. They’re good though - the crunchy batter works with the soft chip shop chips. You can’t really have them on fries though.
9. Just Salt
Solid. Always good. Bit dry, though. Sometimes when you’re having chips with a sauce you like to take a little break - just for like, one or two chips - and have a couple with Just Salt. A nice refresher before heading back in for some more dunks.
The mayo chip is the posh man’s chip - the fry of the refined man. It’s very European, you see - it’s what the Belgians do. Classy. Chips aren’t really supposed to be posh, though. They’re supposed to be eaten down the pub with eggs and ham, outside the football stadium when it’s only 15 minutes ‘til kick-off and the boozer was too busy for you to order a burger, and at 3am from that van where the owner recognises you now, and it’s a little bit sad, really. Too exclusive to rank high.
Ketchup is to sauces what the apple is to fruit, what butter is to spreads, and what Coke is to fizzy drinks. It’s the one, the big guy, the central midfielder and team captain. He’s the most important player on the team, but he isn’t the best. You’ll always love him, you’ll never forget him, but he’s just not as exciting as that new 30-goal-a-season striker you signed from the Spanish league last summer. Seventh.
Cheesy chips are a godsend for bad pubs everywhere, because even if your chips are a bit shit, you can save them with cheese. You can whack a fuckload of cheese on top of pretty much anything and it’ll taste nice.
5. Curry sauce
Curry sauce is like all the good things about Britain squished up together and served in a little white polystyrene cup with a plastic lid. It tastes like Friday nights at home when you were nine and your mum and dad brought fish and chips home as a treat in a white plastic bag and you all sat on sofas in the living room watching shit TV together. It’s a good sauce.
4. Chilli salt
Here’s the thing about Nando’s chips - they’re not really very good. Everyone thinks they are though, and it’s because of the peri-peri salt. Chilli salt is stupidly moreish - I reckon you can eat at least 50% more chips with chilli salt on than you can of any other type of chip, which is both a good and bad thing I guess.
Garlic is factually one of the best best foods that exist, and so a sauce that allows you to basically dip your chips into a delicious, creamy pot of garlic is factually one of the world’s greatest gifts, and exactly the third best way to eat your fries.
Would it be weird to drink a pint of gravy? Because I reckon I could do it, and I think it’d be nice. A cold, winter’s evening, you’re snuggled up on the sofa in front of a bit of Ant and Dec, a blanket covering your feet so your toes don’t get cold, and a lovely, soul-warming pint of gravy. It sounds good. I’m here for it. Definitely is weird, though, isn’t it. Save it for the chips, which aside from Yorkshire puddings, are pretty much what it was made for.
1. Cheese and gravy
Is this cheating? Maybe. It is two things together as one topping, but chips, cheese and gravy is a whole different animal to just cheesy chips or even chips and gravy. Poutine, maybe Canada’s greatest export, is exactly this, so I reckon it counts, and if it doesn’t, well, there’s not really anything you can do about it. Chips, cheese and gravy is going in this list, and it’s going top of it. The cheese and gravy form this weird, amazing hot goo which looks gross and may well kill you one day, but it’s winning goo. The best goo. We fucking love the goo. Winner.