Minimum chips: Man’s quest to solve hot chip mystery
We've all done it at some stage - wandered up to the local chip shop, coins in one hand, with high hopes of buying as many of those deliciously fried potato morsels as possible.
Minimum chips is an Australian institution as sacred as the Chiko Roll, Vegemite and Pavlova - but if you're from NSW or Queensland, chances are you've never heard of it.
For those who live north of the Victorian border, minimum chips is - you guessed it - the minimum serving of chips a takeaway shop will let you buy.
If you're after a larger serving, hungry customers can also request a dollar amount serving of chips instead.
Melburnian Brandon Gatgens started his @minimumchipsmelbourne Instagram account after getting into a heated discussion about what constituted a minimum chips serve.
"It very quickly became apparent that people get very emotional about this, but it almost got down to yelling at the pub," he told news.com.au.
"I decided look I'll settle it, I'm going to eat at as many fish and chip shops as I can and see if I can find a general consensus."
Mr Gatgens has now eaten at around 30 different takeaway shops around Melbourne all in the name of research and has "no signs of slowing".
He documents his finding on his Instagram page, which has more than 10,000 devoted minimum chip-eating followers.
Results have varied wildly, with Mr Gatgens paying anything between $3 to $6 for a minimum chips serve.
"Your standard is around the 450 gram mark but I've had servings well under 300 grams and up near 700 grams," he said.
Through his research, Mr Gatgens has established minimum chips are a regional offering, much like other Australian food delicacies.
I’m sorry wot. Melburnians call a small serve of chips ‘a minimum chips’?!? WOT— Katie Hale (@katie18O) December 10, 2019
"It's much like the question of whether it's a potato cake or potato scallop - it depends where you're from. But it does look like WA, South Australia, Victoria and even the Northern Territory are very big on minimum chips," he said.
"It just seems to be NSW and Queensland that run on the small, medium and large."
Mr Gatgens is firmly a fan of the minimum chip serving, as he thinks the QLD and NSW offering of either a small, medium or large simply isn't adequate.
In a further sign I have not eaten enough fish 'n' chips since moving to NSW, I had no idea minimum chips was not a thing here. (It will always be a potato cake.) https://t.co/uHxq73Az7y— Adrian Lowe (@AdrianLowe) December 9, 2019
Wait, like fish & chip takeaway style shops or everywhere? Growing up in Wagga you’d ask for minimum chips in a takeaway shop but not in like... a burger joint or whatever— Tahlia Pritchard (@Tahls) December 10, 2019
"I don't really like the idea of a small medium and large, because what if you need more than a large or what if you don't want quite a medium or maybe a bit more than a medium," he said.
For now, Mr Gatgens plans to keep sampling as many minimum chips across Victoria, as well as potentially venturing interstate.
"I think I might lose a little bit if I take it internationally. Although I have heard there are good things going on in New Zealand where you can order a scoop rather than a minimum," he said.