Gurko Tavern, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
On a recent trip to Bulgaria, I was astonished to see many people eating a snack that seemed like a distant Slavic relative of poutine. It appears on the menu of most taverns and restaurants as “Fries with cheese (ПЪРЖЕНИ КАРТОФИ СЪС СИРЕНЕ),” a generic appellation that makes up for its lack of poetry by telling it like it is.
It’s tastier than it looks. The fries I had in Bulgaria were good. The cheese topping is usually grated сирене, which tastes like Greek feta only milder and not quite as crumbly. However, adding more cheese and some sauce to bind it all together would make it oh-so-much better.
Dayana Restaurant, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
All of this reminds me of a great unconventional poutine from my hometown: the “Poutine méditérrannéenne” at Les Fistons in Limoilou. This Greco-Lebanese venture serves up nice crispy fries topped with cubes of feta and a garlic/red wine sauce. More on that later…