27 December 2022

BEST OF 2022: Does Wagga really have the best chips in Australia?

| Chris Roe
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Ryan Dedini delivers chips that are crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Photo: Chris Roe.

Year in Review: Region Riverina is revisiting some of the best Opinion articles of 2022. Here’s what got you talking, got you angry and got you thinking in 2022. Today, Chris Roe tackles the big question – who makes Wagga’s best chips?

What makes a great hot chip?

Is it subjective, or is there a fundamental quality that would elevate one chippie above all others?

Crunchy, crinkled, curly, chunky or crispy?

What goes best on top? Gravy, chicken salt, tomato sauce, vinegar, lemon, mayonnaise or something from the pub menu like a creamy diane, mushroom or pepper sauce?

With a rumour going around that Wagga Wagga has the best hot chips in the country, Region has decided to do some investigative journalism and get to the bottom of this important issue.

It’s even been suggested that a hatted chef has turned his hand to the fryer and is delivering crispy chips with a crunch to die for.

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Our search began with a highly unscientific straw poll of the office and a series of discussions with friends and family that helped nail down a few potential places to explore.

The New Oceanic in Kooringal remains popular, and certainly can’t be beaten on volume. Lifting a $6 order of chips is like hauling a hefty sack of potatoes and almost requires a wheelbarrow to ferry to the car.

Turvey Park Takeaway turns out a nice crunchy chip in generous portions and they are not shy with the chicken salt.

Original Flame Grilled Chicken on Baylis got an honourable mention along with JD’s Kebabs across the road whose crinkle-cut chips go down a treat with a snack pack.


Lake Village Takeaway delivers a tasty golden chip. Photo: Supplied.

But time and again, when we asked around, it was Lake Village Takeaway that was given two (greasy) thumbs up.

Region can confirm that the chips are indeed excellent.

“We definitely hear a lot of good feedback,” says Cameron Richardson who has been frying up feeds at the popular Lake Albert shop for 17 years.

He says the aim is chips that are “crispy outside and a nice fluffy inside”.

“I think for us it’s the size of the chip that we use,” he explains.

“I think the thicker they are, they have a better chance of staying fluffier on the inside.”

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The other key ingredient is of course the oil.

“We use animal fats and I think that’s a big part of it,” Cameron says.

Frying chips in animal fat is the traditional approach as it delivers a stronger flavour and tallow is more stable at high temperatures.

It allows a super crisp shell around a softly steamed inside and famously delivers an outstanding gastronomic experience.

Today however it is less common following the diet fads of the last century and a rise in vegetarian and vegan diets.

But while Lake Village appears to have the popular takeaway vote, what of this rumoured hatted chef and his legendary crunch?

Our search eventually led us to Ryan Dedini at the Kooringal Hotel.

The Wagga local has indeed worked with some of the nation’s leading chefs in fine dining and at hatted restaurants and he takes his chips seriously.

“When you go out to the pub, the first thing people do when they pick up a meal is to take a chip off the plate,” he explains.

“So if you’ve got a good chip, cooked in good quality oil that’s got a nice crunch and is fluffy on the inside, then every time they’re going to go back and revisit that venue.”

Chef with chips

Ryan says a quality chip, good clean oil and aeration will deliver the crunch. Photo: Chris Roe.

Ryan says they took a scientific approach to their chips and conducted extensive research.

“We went and regularly dined at other venues,” he explains, while filling a steel basket and popping it in the fryer with a satisfying sizzle.

“We then brought samples of every chip that we could possibly find on the market through all different suppliers and limited it down to what we thought were the best three chips.

“We then got in a few of our regular customers and people in the community and did a blind tasting and they ended up picking the chip that we’ve now currently got on the menu.”

But beyond the primary ingredient, Ryan says the perfect chip requires the perfect oil, good technique and proper seasoning.

“We use a quality cottonseed oil – it’s gluten-free and vegan friendly – and I always keep it nice and fresh and clean the frier every day,” he says, and demonstrates the correct method of lifting the basket from the oil and tossing the chips before dropping it back in.

“You’ve got to aerate them properly and not just give them a shake in the oil if you really want that good crunch.

“To finish it off, we go for a combined salt mix with a good quality table salt – and if it’s not going out to your vegan friendlies – we’ll combine a little bit of chicken salt in there.”

An obligatory sampling by Region confirmed that Ryan’s chips are as promised – packed with crunch, fluffy inside and perfectly seasoned.

But does Wagga deliver the best chip in Australia?

We recommend you conduct some research of your own.

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