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Clam poutine is a new, popular item at La Cantine Chez Coucouc in Grande-Anse . (CBC)

Poutine, that artery-hardening, traditional Quebecois dish that elicits equal parts pleasure and guilt, has a new ingredient to go along with fries, cheese curds and gravy.

Clams?

Reginald Theriault, the manager of La Cantine Chez Coucouc in Grande-Anse in northern New Brunswick, has added that Maritime twist to a dish that had previously been seafood-free.

Theriault hopes his fried-clam poutine might become a summer staple.

During tourist season, about 75 per cent of the seaside snack bar's customers are from Quebec. He wanted to offer them something familiar but different. So far, he says, feedback has been good.

Myriam Benny approved.

"It's special, it's new, it's good," she said. "I come from Quebec, and it's new for me."

Alain Farmer of Montreal said he had tried lots of poutine variations, but that this was a first. "It's excellent, excellent, excellent," he said in French.

On the other hand, Suzanne Landry of Maisonette, N.B., said the new idea is a hard one to swallow. "I'm not crazy about poutine to start with," she said. "I like the fries, I like the clams, but not all together with the gravy."