I have a theory that as sinful as it may be, food tends to taste better between the hours of midnight and 4am. We’ve all been there—in a group of friends fresh from a bar, whether drunk or sober, taking our seats at the Ihop, Waffle House, Chinese restaurant, Pho place or whatever happens to be open 24 hours in your neck of the woods. Without hesitation, we order the greasiest, heartiest selection on offer, and end our night fat and happy in the comfort of our own bed.
In Canada—and Quebec in particular—that overnight sensation is poutine. Don’t get me wrong—the French fries-covered-in-gravy-and-curd-cheese concoction is available any time of day, or so I’m told. But this is a food meant to be eaten in the throes of the night, with your tank on “empty”, and perhaps even slightly buzzed.
While poutine originated in Quebec (it is among the only truly “Canadian” foods), it is now easily found throughout Canada. While it sounds like the most grease bucket of foods, the “foodie” wave of recent years has lent itself to poutine as well. Today, you can occasionally find the dish covered with various meats, lobster, crab, shrimp and even caviar or truffles.
I recommend keeping it simple, however. Something about French fries smothered in gravy and grease and cheese screams low class, and I’d argue this national treasure is best enjoyed exactly that way.