Potato Scallop, Cake Or Fritter? Actually, It Depends

Twitter has flared up recently over the oft-argued question of whether a flat circular disc of battered and deep-fried potato should be called a potato scallop, potato cake or potato fritter in Australia. The correct answer? It depends on where you live.

Potato scallop picture: AWW/Trove

The Macquarie Dictionary notes that scallop is the usual term in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, while cake is used in Victoria and Tasmania. South Australia goes with fritter. (In the Northern Territory, we assume everyone eats battered croc slices instead.)

If you're ordering in a fast-food store, the obvious strategy is to use the appropriate local term. In writing, it's trickier: unless you're a scribe for a Tasmanian newspaper, it might be hard to preference one over the other.

The core rule, as ever, is to make a decision about which one you'll use and stick with it. If you're writing extensively about potato scallops/cakes/fritters, then mentioning the alternatives the first time can be a good approach:

I love a potato scallop (also known as a potato cake or potato fritter, depending on where you live). My waistline is not so convinced this is a good idea.

This kind of regional variation in food terms is very common in Australia. Check out the highly impressive list of alternative names for what's most often referred to as devon, which makes the scallop debate look like (ahem) small potatoes:

Name Where used
devon Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria & Tasmania
baron sausage North Coast NSW
beef Belgium Tasmania
Belgium sausage Tasmania & Queensland
bung fritz South Australia
Byron sausage North Coast NSW
Empire sausage Newcastle region
fritz South Australia
German sausage Victoria
luncheon sausage Eastern states
polony Western Australia
pork fritz Western Australia
pork German Victoria
round meat Eastern mainland
Strasburg Eastern states
Stratz Eastern states
wheel meat Eastern states
Windsor sausage Queensland & North Coast NSW

So name your sausage wisely. Accuracy matters.

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


Comments

    I don't know why this is controversial when we need a table on Wikipedia to know what to call beer glasses - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_glassware#Australian_measures (it was a sad day when that was moved from its own page to a section of the beer glassware one).

    German sausage? isn't that the queen? Anyway whatever you call devon it's god awful crap that's for sure...

    Round meat?
    Description starts off strong, but stumbles towards the end.

    Devon? Had to scroll to the WA section to understand what you are talking about.

    Polony, that stuff is awful. I can't fathom why Victoria would call it "German sausage". I am German and when we migrated here my mum would never buy it. We have standards and that crap is far below them. Certainly nothing "German" about that stuff.

    Last edited 13/10/14 5:07 pm

      Victorians (at least many of them) use the term "potato cake". Source: I lived in several Vic suburbs for 20 years.

      Also, Strasbourg is not fritz. They are both cold cuts, but fritz is "dog meat" (as we call it in our house). Strasbourg is a finer meat.
      As someone who likes leberkase, liverwurst, Viennas, chevapcici and many other foreign foods, I wholeheartedly agree that German and devon/fritz don't belong in the same sentence . I wouldn't give devon to a dog.

    If you think South Australian Fritz is the same as Victorian Strasburg, you are sadly mistaken.

    Fritz is not the same as Devon, Windsor, Pariser, baloney or straz. http://www.essjay.com.au/2011/02/05/fritz-and-childhood-memories/

    If I remember correctly, it was Potato Scallop in New Zealand too. Definitely wasn't Potato Cake as we we call them here in Victoria.

      I'm from NZ & never heard of potato scallop til I came to Aus. Now I always call it a potato scallop since that's the accepted term in Sydney, however they'll always be fritters to me :)

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