Poutine; the wonderful, greasy goodness that is a stack of chips or fries covered in cheese and gravy, just pips maple syrup at the post as the national food of Canada. It’s origins only date back to the 1950s, so whilst it hasn’t been around too long, it’s quickly cemented itself as a favourite fat-filled indulgence amongst tourists and locals alike.
Canadian folklore suggests the first dish of poutine was served in Quebec when a customer asked the chef to add cheese curds to his fries. The French chef’s response unintentionally has become the namesake of this glorious meal, when he replied, “Ça va faire une maudite poutine”, translating to “that will make a dreadful mess!”
Competition is fierce among cafes, diners and restaurants as to who serves the best poutine in Canada. One such place is La Banquise in the eloquently dubbed ‘poutine capital’, Montreal. It’s central location boosts it’s popularity, along with an extensive menu offering over 30 varieties of poutine.Their menu can be found here.
La Banquise opened in 1968 and structural developments have allowed it to now become a full on 24/7 mecca of fried goods, so poutine lovers and amateurs can get their fix at any time of the day. The building is set up similar to a diner, with a beer garden out the back.
The family business prides itself on good quality service and it’s menu is not limited to just poutine. Breakfast is served daily, burgers, hot dogs and onion rings are still popular choice and there’s an array of craft beers available to sample.
Poutine is increasing as a popular menu inclusion in other nations too, becoming somewhat of a phenomenon in ski resort villages across the globe. Whilst it’s dispersiveness is great for non-Canadian lovers of the ‘heart attack on a plate’, it’s home will always be the streets of Montreal, feeding the hordes of drunken hooligans and eager poutine novices.