Chips are welcome wherever you are


I escape the frozen street into, Het Tip Zak,

greeted by the smell of frying lard and laughter

wrapped in humid heat.

I join the ragged queue surveying

raw and processed meats

displayed under spotless fridged glass.


My turn is noted. Recognition–

a look over his glasses, unsmiling

but not unfriendly. I ask, a kleintje en a saté.

As he collects the skewered meat

ready for the boiling fat, I beg a flesje.


He hands me an opened bottle and offers

an open palm. I pay and take my place

against the wall to neck my prize, alongside

chatty waiting clients. I watch the heap

of par-fried chips reduce as another delicious

greasy gaggle is plunged into scalding fat

to fulfil awaiting orders.


She, Mevrouw, packs my frits, tossed free of fat

and points at the row of sauce dispensers.

I decline mayonnaise, andalouse, and curry

opting just for salt. My deep fried saté, sitting

in a cardboard coffin joins chips inside a paper tent

ready for the perforated carry-home bag.


Leaving with my score I head out into

cold sodium yellow with warm comfort

in my hand and walk home reflecting

how close this is to the chippies I left behind.

Just as warming and welcoming

except they sell beer instead of Cod.

© Guaj 2023
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This takes me back to a small chippie in Fulham. On the way back from John Lloyd’s I’d stop to get cod and chips. The owner was Armenian and he fried the fish on coconut oil; there was no grease, just the soft taste of the fish, and the chips salted and vinegar lathered restored whatever energy I had lost while pretending to push myself in the gym! The best in London.


Strong vivid descriptions had me hooked.

The chippies are now pushing plaice and haddock instead of cod – declining numbers – but nothing beats the warm filling taste, and I am a potato fan, sliced, diced, boiled, fried…..


Another good work – incidentally FYI Rock Salmon is the posh name for dog fish 🙂

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