Canada Wining and Dining

Poutine: The Dish That Makes Me Question Canadian Taste Buds

By on July 8, 2014



I remember once listening to a  group of Canadian tourists complaining about eating fries abroad. ‘All I want is gravy and cheese curds’ one wishfully sighed as she tried to navigate the salt and ketchup over her naked serving of fries. I must have given her a strange look because she then asked me in horror: ‘You have never tried Poutine!?’.

No, I had never tried Poutine.

Of course, I was then given a run-down of the dish that can only be mouthwatering for Canadians. Fries. Gravy. Cheese Curd…

IMG_0503Look, I’m not going to lie, they weren’t making it sound like the most appealing meal in the world, but after questioning some other Canadians about the sacred dish I was led to believe that the combination of the three ingredients must make some super-dish. Canadians will seriously rave on about this dish until you feel like you have verbally just consumed a whole bowl of it (especially Quebecers).

Wikipedia says: ‘Poutine (/pˈtn/) is a common Canadian dish, originating in Quebec, made with french fries, topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds. This fast food dish can now be found across Canada, and is also found in some places in the northern United States and even the United Kingdom, where it is sometimes required to be described due to its exotic nature. It is sold in small “greasy spoon” type diners (commonly known as cantines or casse-croûtes in Quebec) and pubs, as well as by roadside fry wagons (commonly known as cabanes à patates, literally “potato shacks”). and hockey arenas.

Kat says: ‘Ew?

I was in Canada briefly as a stopover between Greenland and the USA and craving some genuine maple syrup. The rural lumberjack-like town we were in only had one diner and apparently were no longer serving breakfast. I assessed the menu. I saw Poutine. I was feeling brave. I ordered…

First the fries. They were OK, It’s pretty hard to get fries wrong though so that didn’t impress me so much. Second the gravy. Seems normal enough, we even put gravy on our fries in Australia, (although we tend to call it ‘chips and gravy’). And finally, the cheese curds…

Remember silly putty? The sticky, grossly textured stuff that you played with as a child until it eventually got stuck in the carpet to your mothers horror? Well the texture of cheese curds is kind of exactly like silly putty. Why that seems like a delicious thing to drown your otherwise relatively tasty chips and gravy in is beyond me.

I’m sorry Canada, I tried.

I promise I will try again when I visit Quebec. Maybe the birthplace of the dish will somehow be capable of reviving my faith in Canadian tastebuds…



About Me

Kat Knapp

Hello! I am a 22-year old Australian currently training to be a pilot and studying journalism and sociology I have visited 69 countries across all 7 continents and love to explore. Here is where I share my adventures.