It is French Fries, covered with cheese curds and topped with hot gravy which melts the cheese on the french fries... mmmm....
Many are hesitant to try it, and though it may not be visually appealing to those who have never tasted it, let me tell you, one taste and you are in heaven.
Fast Food Chains in Canada often offer them, and although places like Burger King or A&W may be okay after a night of drinking I highly recommend quality poutine your first time. If you can't go to Quebec try New York Fries (if you are opting for a fast food version) found in most mall food courts, or Fritz.
Fritz is a French Fry Specialty Shop on Granville and Davie in Vancouver. It makes the best french fries, a variety of types of poutines and offers several dipping sauces for your fries. Perfectly located for late-night eats after the bar or club, but tastey enough to eat sober also.
The only other great poutine I have had is at Festival Du Bois, a French Cultural Festival held in or Maillardville, BC every year, though I am sure in the heart of Quebec the poutines would be amazing also.
History of Poutine:
The dish originated in rural Quebec, Canada, in the late 1950s. Several Québécois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine. One often-cited tale is that of Fernand Lachance, from Warwick, Quebec, which claims that poutine was invented in 1957, when a customer ordered fries while waiting for his cheese curds from the Kingsey cheese factory in Kingsey Falls (now in Warwick and owned by Saputo Incorporated). Lachance is said to have exclaimed ça va faire une maudite poutine ("it will make a damn mess"), hence the name. The sauce was allegedly added later, to keep the fries warm longer.
I am addicted to poutine and though it doesn't help me achieve a figure suitable for magazine covers, it is so delicious, I just don't care....