Poutine has gained a reputation as one of Canada's favorite foods. While it may look like a gross mess upon first glance, it actually tastes incredible. If you haven't spent much time in Canada, you may not be very familiar with this dish. What is poutine, you ask? If you're curious, keep reading to learn more about this iconic dish.

What is Poutine?

Alexandra Jade Tringali

Poutine is a dish made with fries, cheese curds, and hot gravy poured on top. There can be many different variations on this concept with some poutine being made with cheese sauce instead of gravy, sour cream instead of cheese and cut up veggies on top. There can also be poutine made with loads of other toppings such as mushrooms, onions, bacon, pulled pork, chilli and more.

The History of Poutine

The exact history of poutine is still unknown as there are several stories that claim to explain its origins. However, most agree that poutine originally came from rural Quebec in the 1950s. 

The story of origin that most agree on was that it came from the small town of Warwick, located in Arthabaska county in rural Quebec. This town had dairy farmers who produced cheese curds (one of the main ingredients in poutine). The development of poutine occurred in stages, the first of which is the addition of cheese curds to fries. This happened at a local restaurant called Le Lutin qui ruit and was done at the request of a customer.

Other customers grew to like this combination, causing it to increase in popularity. However, the cheese and fries got cold too quickly. To fix this issue, restaurant owner Fernand Lachance decided to pour hot gravy on top of the fries to keep them warm – and so a Canadian classic was born.

Poutine then developed into a common street food by the 1980s and finally reached mass popularity when popular fast food chains started adding it to their menus. It eventually became so popular that higher-end restaurants started coming up with fancier versions. Now poutine has become so mainstream that there are entire restaurants dedicated to it.

What Does it Taste Like?

The taste of poutine is unique and difficult to put into words. The best way to describe it would be similar to mashed potatoes with gravy but taken to the next level with the addition of cheese curds and crispy fries rather than mashed potatoes. Another way to describe it would be cheese fries with gravy on top. The only way to truly know that it tastes like is to try it for yourself.

Variations of Poutine

As I said earlier, poutine can have an endless amount of possible toppings, however, there are some known variations that are most popular such as vegetarian poutine (made with a veggie gravy and topped with vegetables) and Montréal-style poutine (topped with smoked meat). There are also some crazier poutine combinations such as butter chicken poutine and even poutine pizza! As long as there is a base of fries and some type of sauce with toppings, it can become a new poutine variation.

Now that you are an expert on all things poutine, take the plunge and try this Canadian delicacy if you can get your hands on it. You definitely won't be disappointed.