National Geographic Traveler’s blog post on top ten foods to eat in Quebec was en pointe. The list recognizes the French Canadian staples that most tourists know and love; the number one choice, of course, is poutine, the gooey combination of cheese curds and gravy.
We were surprised, however, that none of the most popular poutine places were mentioned by name, such as Montreal local favourite La Banquise or the renowned Au Pied de Cochon, for its memorable foie gras poutine.
In contrast, the post did pay homage to rival Montreal-style bagel makers St-Viateur and Fairmont.
Most interesting about this list, however, are the exotic dishes from regions around the globe but represented heavily in Montreal. We knew that couscous was popular in Montreal—representative of the city’s significant Arab and North African population—but did not know there were “couscouseries” dedicated to the dish and its variations.
We learned also that Haitian tassot (fried goat or beef) is available near the Jean Talon market, and that shawarma is taken quite seriously in Quebec. Shish Taouk, for instance is a local variation on chicken shawarma and if not clarified while ordering, “shawarma” will be misinterpreted as an order for beef.
Kudos, also, to the mention of regional specialties available in different parts of the province: the Eastern Townships for its routes des fromages (cheese routes) and Charlevoix for its lamb, a product which is legally protected.