When growing up with a mother from England you learn a thing or two about how things work on the other side of the Atlantic. I would say trainers, and I would always be reminded to say sneakers. Even my pronunciation of words would be a little different. Who knew there was a difference between aluminium and aluminum? When it came to eating French fries I often heard them being called chips. But the difference between chips vs fries was something I never understood.

Almost everyone enjoys some hot fries with a juicy burger or some salty chips next to crispy fish. But have you ever thought about the true difference between chips vs fries?

What Makes Them Different?

ketchup, french fries
Alex Frank

At first glance, fries and chips look basically identical. They're both long slices of potato that are lightly fried golden. But when an American orders what they call “fries,” what they receive could be a variety of things. It could be a long golden stick of potato and varying lengths and thicknesses.

But if you’ve been to Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, or Jack in the Box, you know that American fries are diverse and come in many forms like waffle, crinkle cut, and curly. These different shapes of fries are loved by Americans. However, if you gave a British dude some delicious waffle fries and referred to them as chips, he would be deeply offended.

meat, chips, poutine, chicken, fish, fish and chips, french fries
Julianna Ruo

The main difference between the OG British chip and the American fry is the form that their potatoes take. Even your basic average-shaped American fry may not be able to achieve chip status because it's too thin and skinny. What makes the British chip unique is the fact that it's thicker that most American fries. Some even believe that chips compare more to American home fries instead of normal fries. Whichever you get, all these hearty slices of fried potato perfectly match their fried fish counterpart.

 Why the Issue?

Now that the verdict has been easily decided, what led to all the confusion in the first place? This most likely goes back to the inconsistency in American fries. While some may fail to qualify as chips, others clearly make the cut. Plus, since they're both basically the same food in a slightly different shape people generally think that chips and fries are the same thing.

Some prefer the freedom and patriotism of the American fry while others might enjoy the order and heartiness of an English chip. Some may see the difference between chips vs fries, some may not, and others might not even care. Either way, we can all agree that fried potatoes are so freakin' good.