By Kristi Alexandra
Meaty, cheesy, messy, mouthwatering. Depending on who you ask, the most savoury junk food treat to come out of French Canada–maudite poutine–roughly translates to “a damn mess” or “a fine mess.” The hodge-podge of ingredients–meat, gravy and fresh cheese curds atop fries–has been around since the 50s. In its younger days, poutine’s appeal was questionable, but twists on this classic comfort dish have been picking up steam on this side of Canada of late. It’s a damn fine mess that we don’t mind translating to our tastebuds, and here’s a few places you can find it.
Traveling food truck
Go meat or go home! That’s the way Big Red likes it. This roaming poutine-only food truck serves up 14 meat-based poutines, from “the original” all the way to the spring roll poutine, packed with vegetable spring rolls cut into pieces in a homemade beef gravy and real cheese curds. If you love your poutine to squeal, opt for the bacon poutine: crispy bacon and handmade beef gravy top off real cheese curds and their handmade fries. According to the mobile poutinerie’s website, summer dates and locations will be announced soon.
#4 20178 96th Ave, Langley, BC
If upscale comfort food is your jam, find it at Langley The Fat Cow & Oyster Bar. The duck poutine finds a cozy home among the “schnacks” at this eatery, whose menu boasts a bevy of seafood options and game meats. Try their fried with duck confit in a duck gravy, perhaps among a dozen raw oysters on the shell.
810 Quayside Dr, New Westminster, BC
Find this southern-style BBQ right on the river at New Westminster’s River Market. The spot is best known for its pulled pork, BBQ ribs, cornbread and homemade sweet tea, but south and northeast meet here in Re-Up BBQ’s Poutine ($6.25). Of course, it just wouldn’t be a BBQ joint without an authentic country gravy. It’s smothered in a pork-based gravy made with cream, or keep it traditional with a beef stock and onion gravy. Dress it up with braised beef or pulled pork for an extra $3.
3700 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby, BC
942 Granville Street Vancouver, BC
What would on-campus food be if not ladened with carbs? Find Smoke’s Poutinerie in the middle of BCIT, fueling exams and soaking up sauce after a campus pub night. Or, find it right in the middle of Vancouver’s bar-and-club-laden Granville street. The most fitting? The hangover poutine, topped with scrambled eggs, double-smoked bacon and a hearty Canadian helping of maple syrup. If that’s not your style, there are still 25 other flavours to burn through before semester’s end.
352-800 Carnarvon St, New Westminster, BC
The Spud Shack creates all ten of their poutine dishes with meat-free gravy, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without protein. Try out the butter chicken, made with marinated chicken thighs simmered in creamy tomato sauce, alongside cucumber raita and cilantro; or stir it up with Uncle Bob, a Jamaican jerk chicken poutine with cilantro slaw and grilled pineapple salsa.
32786 Lougheed Highway, Mission, BC
Want to explore a bit further? Chow down on some gravy-smothered chips just like Archie and the gang. Rocko’s 24 Hour Diner, known better to TV lovers as the actual film location of Pop Tate’s (Riverdale, anyone?), serves up the classic poutine–home-style fries covered with melted cheddar and mozza smothered with beef gravy–for $8.99. Three more bucks will earn you one of five “premium” poutines, such as the scrambled breakfast poutine or the Montreal poutine with smoked meat, cheese, gravy, pickles and Dijon mustard. Even Papa Poutine would approve.