My mom has told me that when she was pregnant with me she always craved fries. So from the womb, I was destined to order a side of fries with all my meals. Unfortunately, the realities of today have made remaining loyal to my long-time side dish quite challenging. CBS News recently reported that to combat the global shortage of potatoes Burger King in Japan is asking customers to swap out fries for crunchy ramen noodles with their meals.
There may be a shortage of spuds, but there’s no shortage of other side options at many fast food chains. As the fries fall, it’s finally time for others to rise to the occasion. There are some tasty sides out there that do not get the love they deserve, some you may not have even realized were on the menu.
Onion rings are a fairly common side. You can get them at White Castle, Sonic, and Burger King to name a few. I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of onions, but I’ve come to realize that if you batter and fry something up well enough it doesn’t leave a lot of room for complaints.
Onion rings can provide the same crispy on the outside, soft on the inside bite that you would get out of quality fries. As far as one to one comparisons go, onion rings are a strong alternative to classic French fries.
Did you know you can just order a sweet, buttery biscuit as a side at Wendy’s?Imagine the Wendy’s $5 Biggie Bag deal that comes with a sandwich, a 4-piece chicken nugget, fries, and a drink, but instead of an order of fries you get a sweet little biscuit. Slice that biscuit open, place a few chicken nuggets in between, and now you’ve got two sandwiches—talk about a deal. That’s a pretty fair trade in a world lacking potatoes.
Out of the usual fast food chain options, Chipotle stands out as one of the non-burger-focused establishments. Because of this, the chain’s side options are completely unrelated to the potato, which will serve us all well in these trying times of minimal starch consumption.
Chips and guacamole take you on a different flavor path than fries would, but that does not make them less than. In fact, the lighter more refreshing taste of mashed avocado and a crunchy tortilla chip should be a welcomed change of pace in a sea of burger patties and oil-filled baskets.
Although they’ll soon be gone from Sonic’s menu, I will once again take this as an opportunity to advocate for fried pickles as go-to side of fast food restaurants. Sonic offers a number of non-potato sides that would pair just as well with a classic burger as french fries.
From now until June 26, the chain is offering pickle fries. Want some tang and some crunch with your burger? Pickles deliver on that. As for its usual offerings, Sonic also has mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and Ched ‘R’ Peppers, breaded jalapeño peppers filled with cheddar cheese and fried up.
Although the global shortage of potatoes is a struggle for many, instead look at this as an opportunity for fast food chains to get creative and promote their other side offerings with more enthusiasm. It’s time we let the spuds rest and try something new. My love for French fries will never go away, but it can take a brief pause to let some new bites have their moment in the spotlight.