Dongshu stands out with bright lights and a clean, modern design on the south side of Tianhe Nan Yi Lu across from Teemall (天河城). The small shop has four tables, a narrow side bar and two prime time seats at a windowsill bar for people watching.
As a poutine purveyor, Dongshu serves classic French Canadian poutine as well as a myriad of international variations that are very intriguing.
The first one to hit our table is the Canadian poutine (RMB28) — crispy french fries, thick peppery gravy and cubes of cheese. For the steadfast purists, they couldn’t track down authentic cheese curds, the Toronto-born owner Grace admits with a sigh. Nonetheless, the mozzarella cubes satisfy our constant craving for cheese in China.
Next out is the Korean kimchi kamjatang poutine (RMB34). Topped with Korean pulled pork, kimchi and mayo, this rendition is also very delicious.
Despite this poutine not being served with gravy, we were lucky enough to have plenty of gravy leftover from the Canadian poutine to give it that heartiness that poutine should be all about.
Korean poutine and Canadian poutine with mojito and grapefruit Coronalitas
After a long wait, they bring out the piece-de-resistance: towering lobster with cheese poutine. At RMB76, it is the most expensive thing on the menu by far. The lobster tail is sliced into generous chunks and is topped with chopped lettuce, mustard, mozzarella cubes and queso cheese sauce. It looks tremendous, which is its downfall. By the time the masterpiece has been laboriously assembled, the fries are too cold to melt any of the cheese and the dish devolves into cold lobster potato salad.
The drink menu is possibly even more unique and creative than the worldly fries, ranging from yogurt and sake smoothies and Hong Kong milk tea with Baileys to slushy pina coladas and fruity ‘coronalitas’ (basically a Slurpee with an upside-down 200 milliliter Corona). These drinks are reason enough to sit in those two window seats and get your night started before bowling at the nearby Tianhe Sports Center or one of Zhujiang New Town’s many bars. In fact, plan on relaxing with a cocktail because if you go with a few friends then expect to get your poutines one by one as the kitchen is quite petite.
Who’s going: homesick Canadians, poutine first timers
Good for: slushy drinks and carbo-loading
Nearest metro: Tiyu Xilu Station (exit B), 1 minute
Open daily 11am-11pm, see listing for Dongshu.
[Images via Joshua Cawthorpe for That’s]