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The Difference Between Poutine and Loaded Fries

Q:

Dear Dr. Potato, What’s the difference between poutine and loaded fries?

A:

The difference between poutine and loaded fries follows the rationale of these classic lyrics: you like potato and I like potahto. To clarify, poutine is Canadian dish of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Americans take the concept further, adding local and regional variations to attract changing demographics and tastes.

Also popular are loaded fries with American diners, that Burger Business, a leading foodservice website, tapped Loaded Fries as 2015 Side Dish of the Year (BurgerBusiness.com, December 23, 2015)), and Nation’s Restaurant News pointed to loaded fries as one of “9 Hot Food and Beverage Trends of 2015.” (NRN.com, December 14, 2015), then noted that restaurant delivery orders for poutine jumped 83.1% in 2015, proving the original is still mighty popular (NRN.com, January 4, 2015).

The ingredients may vary, but the concept–French fries topped with gravy/sauce/salsa and finished with cheese/meat/condiment–is the same. More important, the results are universally pleasing.

As you can see from the examples below, loaded fries are all about inspiration, creativity and mashing up tradition.

Wendy’s Baconator Fries, Ghost Pepper Fries, Pulled Pork Cheese Fries
Carl’s Jr. Pizza Fries with pepperoni and cheese
Arby’s   Cheddar cheese sauce, Chopped bacon, shredded cheddar, Parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce
McDonald’s (Australia) Guacamole & Salsa Fries
Badmaash, LA Chicken Tikka Poutine (Masala Fries)
Snuffer’s, Dallas TX Original Cheddar Fries
Heninen’s Grocery Store Bahn Mi Fries
The Crow Bar and Grill Pad Thai Fries
Barrio Urbano, Phoenix Chile Verde Fries (spicy fries, pork green chile, Black beans, jack cheese, pico de gallo)
Degan’s Kitchen, Cleveland Fish & Chip Poutine
GG’s Dine-O-Rama, NOLA Loaded Tot Appetizer w/Bacon, Scallion, Jalapeno
Smothered Food Truck, SF  Sausage loaded fries, smothered in sauce
The Fry Guys, Atlanta GA Bangkok Fries, Salmon Fries

And check out this creative interpretation of Poutine, Idaho® Potato Carne Asada Fries:
Idaho® Potato Carne Asada Fries