Friday 16 May, 2014

Québec Cuisine: Top 5 Tastes

One fun part of going on a trip to a new place is eating the regional foods. Not only does it fill your stomach, it’s a great way to experience the local culture. Think cheesesteak in Philadelphia, clam chowder in Boston, pizza in New York. So what about student trips to Canada? Travelers to Québec City and Montreal have a chance to sample some truly unique items. Here are the top five:

Québec - Château Frontenac

The Province of Québec is home to many tasty treats.

A personal favorite for many, poutine is probably Québec’s most famous food. At its most basic, it’s a pile of fries, gravy and cheese curds. Nowadays poutine has actually evolved to more gourmet versions that are served as far away as the hip gastropubs of Manhattan. But for the real thing, the original, you want to try it at a diner or food truck in the province where it was born—Québec.

Tire sur la Neige
In the winter, much of Canada turns into a snowy wonderland, and the unique treat tire sur la neige takes full advantage. It’s made by pouring boiled maple sap onto fresh snow, resulting in a soft taffy-like candy. People usually eat tire sur la neige at sugar shacks, which are little cabins where sap is turned into syrup and visitors come to savor homemade sweets.

Shish taouk
Montreal’s variation of chicken shawarma has been the city’s most popular Middle Eastern dish for decades. Shish taouk is made from marinated chicken cooked on a vertical spit and shaved off into a pita full of pickled vegetables and hummus. There’s some confusion about the name (“shish” usually refers to skewered meats), but no one in Montreal is complaining.

This traditional Québecois meat pie is filled with pork, veal or beef, and often enhanced with pieces of wild game. It’s especially popular at Christmastime, but it’s available year round in grocery stores and some old-fashioned restaurants. The name tourtière comes from the type of pot in which the dish was originally cooked (also called a tourtière).

Smoked meat sandwich
Something like pastrami, Montreal smoked meat is the Jewish community’s biggest contribution to the city’s eclectic culinary offerings. The main difference between this smoked meat and New York-style pastrami is the seasoning—Montreal smoked meat has more pepper and aromatic spices, and less sugar.

Of course, delicious foods aren’t meant to be read, they’re meant to be eaten. Head to Québec City and Montreal to try these tasty specialties for yourself!