Why you shouldn't dip your chips in tomato sauce

Bethany Reitsma, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 17 Jul 2021, 12:41PM

Why you shouldn't dip your chips in tomato sauce

Bethany Reitsma, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 17 Jul 2021, 12:41PM

You can't go past hot chips. Whether they're wrapped in greasy paper on the beach, slapped between slices of buttery white bread, or alongside a juicy steak, they are the ultimate comfort food - and you can't forget lashings of the classic tomato sauce.

But have we been dipping our chips in the wrong sauce this whole time?

Hot chips have been a staple of the New Zealand diet for years, but they're rumoured to have originated in France - and they do things a bit differently in Europe.

According to a reliable sauce, it's the humble mayo, not tomato sauce, that's the ultimate dip for your chip.

It turns out the French as well as the Dutch like to dip hot chips in mayonnaise. And if you have English heritage, you'll know they like a bit of vinegar or gravy alongside their chips.

Aioli, that garlicky and delicious alternative to mayo, has become more and more popular as a chip dip as well.

If you're feeling even more adventurous, you might like to dip your chips in hot mustard.

The opportunities are endless - but is mayo the ultimate condiment after all? We tried and tested several classic dips so you don't have to - and here's the verdict.

Tomato sauce

It's the quintessential Kiwi sauce - everyone has a bottle in their fridge. But although this hits the spot, is it just playing it safe? We think yes.


As our resident food expert Megan informs me, authentic aioli isn't just mayo with a bit of added garlic - it is in fact an emulsification of olive oil and garlic. That's foodie speak for mixing ingredients until they come together to form a thicker consistency.

In other words, it's fancy cafe mayo - and you can't go wrong with a dollop of aioli on your fries.

A stellar lineup of sauce options. Photo / NZ Herald Focus


A controversial addition to our list? Perhaps, but a hit of American mustard is suprisingly tasty - it's worth giving it a go.


You can't get more British than hot chips and gravy. Across the pond in Canada, they add cheese curds and call it poutine.

Hot gravy certainly won't cool down your piping hot chips, so this combo may not be for everyone - but it made the top of Megan's list.


A dollop of mayo is, in the author's opinion, the greatest complement to a hot chip.

You need to make sure your chip is strong enough to handle the consistency of the mayo, but it turns out the French were on to something. The creamy mayo strikes the perfect balance with a crisp, salty hot chip.

The verdict

Megan declared the gravy combo her ultimate favourite, while I stayed true to my Dutch heritage and cast my vote firmly in favour of the mayonnaise.

But then we had a brainwave - what if we combined all the sauces together to form the ultimate dip? It was far less disgusting than it sounds, I promise.

So if you're stuck in a flavour rut and need to try something new, why not branch out and try a new sauce/chip combo? Your taste buds might be pleasantly surprised.