Whether straight, curly, thick, or crinkled chips are not from this part of town unless they're orange, writes Charlene Davies.

Like all regions, the Black Country has certain foods that are traditional to its area, and the orange chip is one of them.

As a West Midlands speciality, orange chips are an authentic style of chip dipped in an orange coloured batter before they are fried.

Believed to have been a delicacy of the war years, they were made to break the monotony of wartime fare.

Here in the Black Country, the fried potatoes are so orange, non locals would be forgiven for thinking that it was the oil that needed changing.

Sometimes with a hint of paprika for an extra orange glow, these chips are a black country favourite, and to some, considered the best in the world.

Fish and chips outsell indian takeaways by two to one and the fish and chip shop market is worth £1.2bn - that means £1 of every £100 spent on food is spent in a fish and chip shop.

There are almost 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK and nearly 200 million chip meals sold in fish and chip shops each year.

But our distinctive regional chip eating habits mean there are many contenders for what is considered the best chip, with many shops claiming to have the secret for the best chips in the area.

Alastair Harabin, 27, from Lancaster, is owner of three chip shops. His shop, Seniors Fish and Chips, was voted best in the UK, and he believes he knows the secret for what makes the best chip. He said: “The best local potatoes and good staff are what makes the best chip shop experience. We use a potato called Caberet, it is a white potato sweet in taste, and works really well for chips. "It’s the potato that won us chip shop of the year.”

In my bid to find the best Black Country style chips, I visited 10 local chippies hoping to find out what it is that makes our style of chips so popular.

My first stop was Dudley Fish and Chicken Bar: Chips were light and airy and potato was very creamy in taste. The skin was a good golden colour with a nice proportion of batter that made them extremely crunchy. Black Country style batter was very authentic and left you wanting more. Rating ****

Next was Tipton Black Country Chips: Chips were alarmingly orange but it soon became clear the appearance did not contribute to the taste as the chips somewhat lacked flavour. Rating***

The Cod Father: Oldbury. On the border of the Black Country chip haven, The Cod Father’s chips were very clean looking and fresh tasting. Plain standard white chips, these were not of the orange variety and appeared to lack taste. Very soft texture but lacked the seasoned taste of traditional Black Country battered chips. Rating*

Tasty Plaice, Sedgley: These chips were crisp with a soft creamy potato texture. Good traditional style colour and were clearly cooked in a batter that was well seasoned. Chips were small in size but this appeared to increase the flavour. Rating ****

2 Tasty, Sedgley: Plain style chips but were a good size. Rating *

Sofies Place, Dudley. Good Black Country-style chips, battered and very crunchy. Potato inside was very soft and you could clearly see the seasoning on the outer skin of the chip. Rating **

Dudley Port Chip Shop, Dudley: Good golden orange colour, these chips were very tasty with a visible batter coating. Potato was very soft inside which complemented the crispy outer layer. Nice presentation. Rating ****

Hooked on Fish: The Winner. Cradley Heath. By far one of the best chip shops visited. Their sign above the door says ‘For bostin fish and chips’, and they were. Chips were big and had a nice orange colour. very flavourful and extremely crunchy. There wasn’t any need for extra seasoning as they were good Black Country-style chips. Rating *****

Sea Wave Fish Bar, Cradley Heath: Chips were plain standard English chips. Not flavoured or battered but good sized and not too greasy, but seemed a bit dull after tasting others. Were served nice and hot. Rating **

Carol's Fish Bar: Stourbridge. Chips had a nice flavour and were a good size. Very tasty and not at all greasy. However, chips were of the plain, un-battered variety so looked very pale and were lacking that orange appeal. Rating ***