Potato cake or potato scallop – why one little word makes a big difference

Potato cake or potato scallop – why one little word makes a big difference

A fried potato is delicious no matter the name. Am I right or am I right? Well, apparently many Australians would disagree. This seemingly simple fried potato slice appears to have our nation divided over what to call the darn thing. Is it a potato cake or a potato scallop? New South Wales and Queenslanders claim that the title ‘potato cake’ is outlandish, that there is no place in the world for the phrase and that such a thing as a ‘potato cake’ will never be a potato scallop. However, Victorians beg to differ.

So, which is it then? Is that little delicious slice of crispy fried heaven, a potato cake or is it a potato scallop? Apparently, it is both. It just depends on where in Australia you are from.

Australia’s biggest debate

It would seem as though there are much more important things to be worried about rather than what to call a fried potato. If you feel this way, it is probably best to keep your commentary to yourself. You will thank me later. The native age-old Australian debate over whether the country staple, fried potato is a cake or a scallop, is in fact one of the most prominent. Such a debate has been known to spark serious disagreements between New South Wales and Victorians for quite some time now. Which is why it is recommended that if you have no preference of what to call it, that you just simply keep your mouth shut. It is kind of like what your Mum used to tell you as a kid, “if you do not have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That is, because calling the fried potato the wrong thing in the wrong place, could cause quite the debacle for you.

It seems as though all Australians are in agreement about one thing, that no matter the name, fried potatoes are downright delicious! However, when it comes what to call this deep-fried delight it is the second biggest divider amongst Australian states, running closely behind which footy team you support!

So, what is it?

The fact of the matter is that this little delectably delicious crispy fried treat, is both a potato cake and a potato scallop. What you call it will simply depend on where in the country you are. The name of the dish has a distinct name that is unique to its individual territory – that each state has made its own.

When it comes to Australian language variations, there is actually a wide array of barriers. Barriers that develop around particular words in the Australian nation are that of any other linguistic variations worldwide – they are a result of regional divides. Do you put on your cosies or togs? Do you buy a trombone or a marrow from your local grocer? Do you push your small child in a stroller or a pusher? It is all relevant depending on what part of the nation you come from. Same scenario with potato cake and potato scallop.

Why the confusion?

When settlers first began to settle in Australia (most English – about 30 percent) they settled about throughout the country, in different regions. As they began to settle they realised that with them came their dialect and standard words. It was discovered that different items had different names amongst the settlers and so compromises had to be made to reach an understanding as to what to refer to said items as. These settlers unknowingly established language regions that still exist throughout Australia today.

Regardless of whether you call it a potato scallop or potato cake, we can all agree that they are scrumptious! Fantastic with a beer on a hot day – we might just have one today to celebrate Australia Day!

Mountain Harvest Foods’ natural sliced potato cakes and hand dipped potato cakes (you have to try these to taste the difference) can be found at your local fish and chip shop. If you’re a retailer, please contact our national office on +613 5968 1540.