Fries Speciaal from The Frying Dutchman in Portland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

I’ve long wanted to write an open love letter to french fries and now, thanks to the The Frying Dutchman in Portland, I have a reason to.

I won’t sugarcoat (or, in this case, salt) it, there’s nothing particularly nutritious about feasting on fries. There’s no green vegetable at this party and no healthy fats or proteins. But that hardly matters because french fries, for me, are at the cornerstone of emotional, instant gratification eating. If I could, I’d eat them every day such is my love and adoration for them.

And so it came to pass that I climbed the stairs to the second floor of Portland Public Market a couple of Fridays ago. Yeah, it was a fry-day. It was my first time at the market in a few years, and it felt good to be back supporting a business in downtown Portland.

I like to think of myself as something of a fry connoisseur. And while I don’t prefer waffle or thick steak fries and even think sweet potato fries are questionable, I still eat all three every chance I get. My real love is for the thinner, more fast-food style of fries. Is it because I’m able to shove several in my mouth at a time if I’m so inclined? Probably. The fries from The Frying Dutchman were bigger than McDonald’s fries but smaller than steak fries. They’re my new favorite fry size.

If you’re wondering what a Dutch fry is, it’s all in the cooking process. They get fried twice. By doing this, the exterior of the fry redefines crispy in a magnificent way while the inside stays soft. It may seem simple, but it’s also genius.

I ordered the Fries Speciaal for $11, and they came in a massive cone with sides of curry ketchup, classic Dutch mayo and chopped onions. Chef and co-owner Leon Vuong told me that Dutch mayo is similar to a traditional aioli but with 30% less fat and that, at The Frying Dutchman, they use only egg yolks so as to not sacrifice any flavor. They also offer a vegan version, and there are always at least 10 flavors of Dutch mayo available, including Kalamata olive and roasted garlic and black pepper.


The price is kind of steep for an order of fries, but the portion was enough for two, though I ate every last one of them on my own. There was also plenty of sauce, and the chopped onions were an unexpectedly pleasant addition. I loved this meal, and yes, I’m calling this a meal.

For your sweet tooth, The Frying Dutchman offers oliebollen, which are cinnamon-apple beignets. You can add a scoop of orange blossom ice cream for $1. There’s also the Maple Stroopwafel served over Coffee By Design coffee.

Also, hear me now, don’t sleep on The Frying Dutchman’s weekend game. On the first and third Saturday of every month (that’s this Saturday), they offer specials like Florentine Fries Benny, with eggs and spinach, and Sky High Loaded Bloody Mary Fries, topped with a crispy barbecue chicken slider, baby blooming onion, candied bacon, cinnamon apple oliebollen and house pickles. They also run a drink special made with lavender rose moon milk and whipped coffee. To stay in the know about these delicious-looking menu items, be sure to follow The Frying Dutchman on Instagram, where they’re very active with both posts and stories.

If you love french fries and want to treat yourself to a downright epic fry experience, open your wallet and loosen your belt for a visit to The Frying Dutchman. Both the cost and the calories are well worth it.

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