If you’re not based in Canada, Seattle or maybe Burlington, Vermont sadly there is a good chance you didn’t grow up with poutine. Montreal’s signature food is a simple combination of French fries and gravy with cheese curds on top. In the U.S, disco fries aka fries with gravy exists but pales in comparison. You see – poutine is as much a part of the culture to this city as pizza slices are to New York. Practically every other restaurant offers a version. South Asian places offer versions featuring chicken curry on top. There are high-end versions with toppings like lobster.
We decided to check out one of the most famous spots, La Banquise who offer both vegan (vegan cheese+ vegan gravy) and regular versions. In fact they offer scores of variations and toppings ranging from chopped corn dogs, jalapenos, creamy cabbage(?), smoked meats, mushrooms etc. I tried out two versions in two trips: the classic and the most exciting, General Tso’s.
The classic version didn’t disappoint. The curds on top give a pleasant squeaking sound as you bite it which is not unlike mozzarella. It was very satisfying though heavy. I can only imagine how tasty it would be after some drinks. The vegan version was just as good featuring a vegan cheese and a mushroom gravy. Bonus points to them for explicitly labeling what was vegetarian and vegan. On the second visit, I checked out General Tso’s which was pretty fun. It was clear that they used some cut up chicken patties versus the deep fried chunks of chicken found at Chinese places. Still, it was tasty with a mildly spiced pineapple sauce. If I ever return to Montreal this is definitely the first place – I’ll go after drinks.