What makes good fries? If you ask Dutchman Martin Zwerts, 60, the ‘Potato Daddy’ behind his award-winning eponymous Dutch fries shop, the best fries should be “crispy on the outside and soft on the inside”.
And that’s exactly what he offers at the third-generation-run, 70-year-old Friture Martin Zwerts (‘friture’ is the Dutch term for a kiosk that sells the country’s traditional fries snack), topped with generous, goopy dollops of sauces that you can customise.
A Small cone of fries starts from $5.50, while a Large one starts from $6.50. Additional sauce toppings start from $1 each.
Hailing from Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Martin opens his first Singapore takeaway outlet at Holland Village (yes, really) at the new Holland Piazza mall today.
Why Singapore? ’Cos one of his local investors here was based in the Netherlands for a few years and saw the appeal of offering Dutch fries in Singapore. After all, they are tasty, wallet-friendly and easy to eat: Martin Zwerts’ version comes in an Insta-worthy, cheerful yellow cone filled with fat fries (specially cut and frozen in the Eindhoven shop, shipped to Singapore and fried with vegetable oil here) and 11 types of sauces including Fritessaus (think a lighter, sweeter version of mayonnaise) and Martin’s self-coined ‘Mamapap’ sauce, a brown curry-onion mix. The Dutch-style Satesaus, a creamier version of our satay sauce that the Dutch adopted from their former colony, Indonesia, is also offered.
There is a Singapore exclusive too: the thick, meaty beef-based Rendang sauce which you mop up with the 1cm-thick golden fries. And there will be a Salted Egg Yolk one soon.
The potato sticks are fried in batches of one to three customers’ orders. Martin, a purist who shudders at the mention of McDonald’s French fries, avoids cooking his fries in large batches as a large quantity of frozen fries would “lower the oil temperature and make it not hot enough”. Unlike some fries shops that serve their fries with the potato skin on, Martin takes great pains to peel all his potatoes. “The skin makes the fries bitter,” he explains.
He plans to pop by his Singapore store to check on operations every six months.
In the meantime, Martin and his cute nephew Bob Brants, 21, who also works alongside him at the main Eindhoven store, will be in town for the store’s official opening tomorrow (Apr 28), till May 2. The kiosk soft launches today (Apr 27) at 3pm.
We foresee a frites trend coming in three, two, one!
Friture Martin Zwerts Singapore is at #B1-07 Holland Piazza, 3 Lor Liput, Holland Village S277725. Open daily 11am-10.30pm. www.martinzwerts.com.
VIDEO: CHRISTOPHER KHONG & GOH WEN KAI
PHOTOS: EALBERT HO