It has long been the cause of much adversity: college has turned against college, student against student…oh yes, it has even caused BNOC to turn against BNOC – a terrible thing indeed.

The sheer ruckus surrounding it can only be said to rival that caused by the closure of Emporium, the unprecedented replacement of the Toffee Deluxe Quality Street with the Chocolate Caramel Brownie (an unforgivable offence), and even the disappearance of the dancing pole from the second floor of Bridge (It still hurts to think of it. Bridge Thursdays have never been the same.)

This fiery debate centres on one vital question: which Oxford chip van is the best?

When one poor soul, lulled into a confidence that only three VKs consumed in Park End can provide, dared to conjecture that Posh Nosh served up Oxford’s best chips, they were expelled from the cheese floor before they had the chance to listen to ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ for a fourth time. A cruel fate indeed, especially for the Park End frequenter, to whom such a judgement proves to be the most heinous of all, living for the repetition of such tantalizing rhythms.

It was high time for someone to put an end to this age-old dispute and I thought that I, being an English student, and thus not knowing how to conduct a fair test, would be a slightly below average person for the job, so I took the burden upon myself to do so.

This was a wholly unbiased study.

First and foremost, I needed a representative selection of chip vans.

An entirely fair scientific process ensued. I based the following selection of chip vans exclusively on the advice of a slightly tipsy curtain-haired boy outside of Fever. Thinking back, he probably wasn’t the most reliable of sources. He did, however, repeatedly reassure me that these vans were ‘absolutely f***ing yummerzz mateee’ so I’m taking that as commendation enough, resulting in the following four vans being chosen:

  • Hassan’s
  • Solomon’s
  • Ahmed’s
  • McCoy’s

Secondly, I needed to ensure that the other variables were controlled.

  • I had the same three people, along with myself, taste-test each of the different chips. These persons shall remain anonymous for their safety, lest their views cause too much uproar among certain dedicated chip van supporters. They shall henceforth be identified only as anonymous persons 1,2 and 3.
  • From each van the same order was placed: a small portion of chips with ketchup on the side.
  • Each chip was to be tested according to the same three categories: appearance, crispiness and flavour.

With this established, the plan was complete. All that remained was to journey to the vans, obtain the chips, and return them to my delightfully beige accommodation for testing.

Ahmed’s

The most potato-esque of the bunch.

With their speckled appearance and knobbly surface, we sought much needed comfort in the fact that these chips did indeed seem to have originated as real potatoes.

Each glance seemed to transport us away from the surrounding 1960s architecture to a kind of pastoral bliss. Indeed, anonymous person 2 seemed entirely captivated by their rustic charm.

An admirable crispiness, and a rich flavour perfectly accommodated its attractive exterior.

Special mention goes to the ketchup, which had a certain vibrancy that I had never quite encountered before, nor will I ever again, I believe.

McCoy’s

Nestled between St Aldate’s Church and Pembroke College, McCoy’s is a hidden gem.

The aesthetic of these chips is truly something else. Each chip is seemingly identical in size and appearance, and the neatness of it all is truly a wonder to behold.

Anonymous person 3 was so enchanted by their uniformity that they were rendered quite speechless.

With an exquisite taste to top it all off, these chips are exactly what you need after a regrettably messy night in Park End.

Soloman’s

Direct, unadulterated quote from anonymous person 1: ‘that’s f***ing delicious.’

In fact, with this, anonymous person 1 seems to have perfectly summed up these chips: they truly are ‘f***ing delicious.’

A perfect crispiness and flavour, it seems that these chips can really do no wrong.

Hassan’s

It is purported that when you leave Oxford you will either have a spouse, a blue or a first – regardless of which you leave with, it is impossible that you could leave without having tried these chips.

Truly the BNOC of the Oxford chip scene, it seems that its status is unparalleled.

With a masterfully crispy exterior and a light and fluffy inside, the delicious taste of a Hassan’s chip is undeniable.

Appearance 10/10, Crispiness 10/10, Flavour 10000/10

These chips have been, and will remain God-tier.

Conclusion:

After much heated debate and rigorous scientific testing between myself and anonymous persons 1, 2 and 3, a winner was decided upon.

*Drum roll please*

The title of best chip van in Oxford was awarded to…

Hassan’s

It was a tough competition, with all participants deserving of much commendation and respect. But it was clear that there was only one true van to which one should journey to get the necessary chips after stumbling out of Park End, and that one true van was of course Hassan’s.

*DISCLAIMER: despite the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards Hassan’s as the superior chip van in Oxford, I must state that McCoy’s is in fact the best chip van. This alternative conclusion is, but of course, utterly unbiased, impartial, and entirely objective. It has absolutely nothing to do with any college loyalty to this particular chip van – I would never allow such a thing to affect, or cloud my judgement, on matters of serious importance*