When you think of Canadian food, your mind may go to the country’s iconic maple syrup. However, there’s another incredible Canadian dish worth a taste, and this time, it’s savory. Poutine is one of Canada’s most delicious culinary exports.
You don’t need to get out your passport and book a flight to try some. So let’s dig into the basics of this dish and where to get poutine in the USA. Let’s get started!
What Is Poutine?
Poutine is a delicious, savory spin on traditional french fries. Tracing its roots in Canada’s Quebec region, chefs developed the dish in the mid-20th century, and it quickly became a culinary favorite of our neighbors to the north.
At its core, poutine is relatively simple; french fries with cheese curd toppings and brown gravy. It’s best eaten hot and fresh, with double-fried potatoes retaining their crispness and the warmth of the gravy softening the curds. Over the years, variations come with different cheeses, the addition of meat, or additional toppings.
Today, poutine is an iconic Canadian food, found everywhere, from greasy-spoon diners to fancy restaurants.
Is There Poutine in the USA?
Certain parts of Canadian culture tend to cross the border, and thankfully, poutine is one of them. While it was rare to find poutine outside of Canada just a few decades ago, these days, you can find it almost anywhere in the United States.
Naturally, you’ll find poutine more frequently in northern states with cultural connections to Canada. But due to the near-universal appeal of the combination of fries, cheese, and sauce, poutine is popping up across the country and the world. There are many regional twists on the basic concept.
Why Is Poutine Not Popular in the USA?
While you can find poutine with a bit of looking, it’s not nearly as common or popular as in Canada. It’s unclear why it hasn’t caught on here, though there are several possibilities. Cheese curds remain relatively unfamiliar to many Americans, who may be reluctant to try them.
Americans may also be more inclined to opt for traditional versions like cheese fries or chili fries. Poutine can also be messy and certainly isn’t anyone’s idea of healthy food.
Some folks might not want to deal with the additional calories, fat, and salt on top of unhealthy french fries.
The Best Places to Get Poutine in the USA
Where should you head if you’re craving salty, crispy, cheesy, saucy deliciousness? We’ve rounded up a list of the top places to get poutine in the USA.
Mile End Deli in New York
New York City is known for having food from all corners of the world. Naturally, it’s home to some of America’s best poutine. This Brooklyn eatery offers four types of poutine, including versions with smoked meat, a chicken schnitzel, or breakfast-style with eggs and bacon. Those looking for the classic experience can indulge in traditional poutine as well.
Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden in Austin
Set in Austin’s bustling Rainey Street nightlife district, Banger’s provides some of the best poutine in the USA. This traditional version also includes green onions for a bit of freshness. It’s available in large size for the hungrier among us or a smaller version for those looking to try it out. You can wash it all down with one of over 60 draft beers, covering every style and flavor imaginable.
Pro Tip: If poutine isn’t for you, try out The Best BBQ in Texas on your next road trip.
Animal Restaurant in Los Angeles
Los Angeles restaurants are famous for putting an upscale fusion spin on ordinary dishes, and Animal does precisely that with poutine. Their version has oxtail gravy and cheddar. It’s one of many adventurous dishes, including braised rabbit, quail, crispy pig ear, and Dungeness crab.
Desi Galli in New York
If you want one of the more unusual international spins on poutine in the USA, head to Desi Galli. This Manhattan eatery offers Indian-influenced poutine, swapping out the brown gravy and cheese curds for tikka sauce and grated paneer. It may annoy some Canadian purists, but it’s just more evidence of the fantastic fusion of cuisines in the Big Apple.
The White Swan Public House in Seattle
Not far from the Canadian border, The White Swan takes the Pacific Northwest’s iconic fresh seafood and integrates it into a unique spin on poutine. Instead of traditional gravy, this version uses a chowder-style replacement, which they ladle over fries and top with steamed clams, scallions, and bacon. Seattle residents may be familiar with regular poutine, but the incredible flavor of this seafood version keeps them coming back.
Pro Tip: Long drive ahead of you? You might want to skip the poutine and Avoid These Foods on Your Travel Day.
Is Poutine in the USA Worth It?
If you’re looking for the most delicious and authentic poutine, it’s undoubtedly in Canada. However, while Canada may be home to top-tier poutine, that doesn’t mean poutine in the USA isn’t delicious and satisfying. Some American restaurants, particularly those in Canadian border states or run by owners with connections to the region, make poutine that would make many Canadians proud. If you’re among the many folks who don’t plan on traveling internationally for a meal, you can find many excellent options for poutine here in the USA.
Which of the poutine dishes we listed would you try first? Tell us in the comments!
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