Montreal

Poutine restaurant in Quito, Ecuador brings Quebec culture south

It's Poutine Week in Montreal. but the made-in-Quebec invention is growing in popularity elsewhere, too: Witness the success of Casa Quebecua, a poutine restaurant in Quito, Ecuador.
The Casa Quebecua in Quito, Ecuador has a fries-eating bear over the entranceway. (Facebook)

It's Poutine Week in Montreal, but Quebecers aren't the only ones enjoying the traditional treat.

Poutine is growing in popularity outside of the province, and even outside of Canada: Witness the success of Casa Quebecua, a poutine restaurant in Quito, Ecuador.

"We're trying to represent a little part of Canada–Quebec inside each of our stores," owner Zachary Robichaud said. 

Zachary Robichaud opened Casa Quebecua in Quito, Ecuador because he missed home. (Facebook)

   

Robichaud is a Quebecer who moved to Ecuador nine years ago.

   

"I was missing a little bit of the culture back home, and I decided to make a little place where I can feel more at home and meet some Canadian people and Quebecois," Robichaud said.

   

   

Look for the log cabin

   

The deli is a throwback to earlier times in Quebec. Situated right next to a modern commercial building that houses a Subway restaurant, Casa Quebecua is a log cabin with a big, brown bear perched over the restaurant's sign, eating a cone of fries.

   

Canadian, Quebecois and Ecuadorian flags hang from the front entrance.

   

Robichaud said people were curious about the menu at Casa Quebecua from the moment the deli opened.

   

"When they came inside, we made sure to explain what the poutine was to our clients," he said. "Now it's part of the Ecuadorian culture here in Quito."

   

The Casa Quebecua also sells hot dogs. (Facebook)

   

Booming business

   
   

With three to five thousand poutines sold on average per month, business is good for Casa Quebecua.

   

On Saturday, Robichaud is opening a second location in Ibarra, 115 kilometres northeast of Quito.

   

He's also received requests to open locations in Manta, 400 kilometres away on the west coast, and other places in Ecuador, as well.

   

Robichaud's goal to share Canadian culture without imposing it on Ecuadorians has resulted in his poutine Ecuadoriana — what he describes as a mix of the two cultures and a tribute to the local cuisine.

   

It's a basic poutine with fries, gravy and cheese curds, mixed with fried pork, tomato and avocado, loosely based on a traditional Ecuadorian dish called fritada

   

   

'Bear poutine' a bestseller

   

Casa Quebecua's bestselling poutines are the poutine del oso, or bear poutine, complete with bacon, ground beef, sausages, ham and caramelized onions, and the poutine Ecuadoriana.

   

The restaurant also serves burgers and corn dogs.

   

   

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