Foodie-heaven Everything with chips

Potatoes, of all things! Despite its Latin name solanum tuberosum, this South American Indian root vegetable hardly prompts thoughts of international cuisine.

But in the region where Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands come together, nothing could be further from the truth. Peeled and cut into sticks about 5 cm long and 5 mm thick, then deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown, potatoes transform into Pommes frites, patates frites or fritten – the national dish of the international region around Aachen, Liège and Maastricht. They’re eaten as a side dish or enjoyed on their own with mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup (or all at once!). It’s an undisputed fact that Europe’s gourmet chips are to be had in Belgium – even the Americans, with their French fries, admit that.

International cuisine at its best

In the region bordered by the Eifel, Mergelland and Ardennes uplands, though, international cuisine is more than a culinary expression of five cultures. As well as French-influenced haute cuisine, Rhineland vinegar-marinated beef and Limburg stoofpot, an influx of foreign creativity has created a wonderful mélange of tastes and possibilities, resulting in the region’s “best” Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Persian and – recently – Russian restaurants throwing down the gauntlet to local chefs. Everything that tickles the palate is here in abundance and quality, and anyone who takes the time to find out more – and who knows that good food is worth every cent – will find delights beyond measure.

And you can find things here which you’d search long and hard for in other places you’d expect to find them – Greek kebabs for example. A rarity in Athens, but a-plenty in Aachen. Maybe it’s something to do with the age-old rivalry between Greece and Turkey, after all this is the Greek variation on the Ottoman döner – meat roasted on a spit.

The international community of Germans, Belgians and Dutch take this all in their stride. No need to worry: after all, it’s bound to be ordered with, Pommes, patates or fritten!

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