French fries, despite their name, did not originate in France. The origins of French fries can be traced back to the 17th century in the region that is now known as Belgium. The people in this area traditionally cooked small fish in hot oil as a part of their cuisine. However, during the winter months when the rivers froze, they had to find an alternative, and they began slicing potatoes into long, thin strips and frying them as a substitute for fish.

These fried potato strips gained popularity and became a staple food in Belgium. When French soldiers encountered this dish during the French Revolution, they enjoyed it and brought the idea back to France. The term “French fries” was coined by the American soldiers who tasted them in Belgium during World War I and referred to them as “French” due to the widespread use of the French language in Belgium at the time.

So, while French fries were popularized and introduced to a wider audience through France, their origin can be traced back to Belgium.

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