Instead of a tropical getaway, this spring break I traveled north to Toronto, ON, Canada to do some sightseeing and attend a hockey game. More importantly, I had the opportunity to try poutine, but what exactly is poutine?

In short, poutine is a Canadian staple originating from Quebec. Poutine can have all types of toppings, but the standard consists of french fries, cheese curds, some type of meat and gravy.

Poutine isn't a one size fits all meal, so you can pick and choose your meat toppings. Generally, poutine lovers choose from smoked meat, bacon, sausage or chicken. 

Although it is considered fast food, almost every restaurant I visited served some version of the classic dish (not just at the drive-thru). I found it on the menus of both upscale steak restaurants and on the trucks of street vendors. This dish is truly a Canadian staple and is a go to meal no matter where you travel. 

bacon, poutine
Photo courtesy of La Poutine Week and Olya Krasavina

Poutine was on my Canadian bucket list and trying it was a priority for me. Once I saw people eating the classic dish in both restaurants and walking around with it in town, intimidation set in. This Canadian specialty was truly foreign to me.

I finally worked up the courage and tried poutine in a classic, Canadian setting: at a hockey game. When I was handed my first poutine, it was overwhelming. The dish was overflowing with twice fried french fries, cheese curds, shredded chicken and gravy.

Once I tasted my first fry, the intimidation was gone and I couldn't help, but to dig in! The gravy gave it that comfort food feel and I instantly understood why Canadian's love it so much.

chocolate, gravy, waffle, poutine
Olivia Clifton

My advice to you is, if you have the chance to go to Canada, you owe it yourself to try authentic Canadian poutine - it definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list too.

I mean, let's be honest, how can french fries and cheese be a bad thing?