A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep fried. The word comes from the Latin *frīctūra ("frying") by way of Old French and Middle English. It can refer to a dessert, a side dish or a main course food.
In British fish and chip shops, the fish and chips can be accompanied by fritters, which means a food item (such as a slice of potato, a pineapple ring, an apple ring or some mushy peas) fried in batter. Hence: potato fritter, pineapple fritter, apple fritter, pea fritter, etc.
Small cakes made with a primary ingredient, mixed with batter and fried, are found in many American cuisines. "Corn fritters" and "apple fritters" are well known, although the American apple fritter is unlike the British one. The creator of the American apple fritter is Don Limbocker, a baker from Salem, Oregon. Fritters may use regular flour, cornmeal, or a mix. New England clam cakes and Maryland crab cakes are essentially varieties of fritter.
In most Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, it is common for a variety of fritters (such as yam, sweet potato and banana) to be fried by the roadside in a large wok and sold as snacks. Fritters are extremely popular road side snacks all over South Asia and are commonly referred to as Pakora (Pakoda) or Bhajia in local parlance.