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Aug 27, 2008 06:23 PM

What grocery items are not readily available in Montreal?

Okay, I know that almost everything can be found in Montreal, but I have a friend going to McGill who is a vegetarian, and was wondering what kind of food items I might send from Vancouver.

Anything that folks can think would be a little scarce? Any suggestions welcome. Thanks.

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    1. re: zekesgallery

      They have grits at Marché Akhavan, and I'm not sure Vancouver is a mecca of grits in any case. ;-)

      I can't actually think of much that is easily shippable that they have in Vancouver that is hard to find here. (Unless you want to send your McGill friend a box of dry-iced super-fresh sushi. ;-) However, I will actually be there in a couple of days so if anything occurs to me while I'm in Van, I'll let you know.

      1. re: kpzoo


        Woo-Hoo! Thanks for the head's up, NDG might not be a lost cause after all.

        1. re: kpzoo

          Thanks folks. While I love grits (I even had them shipped to me while living in South Africa in the '80s!), I know she has never even tasted them and so wouldn't be all that enthused about receiving them.

          The ice packed sushi would be a waste on her as she is a vegetarian.

          I mailed her a package today that consisted of a lot of small dry goods (won't go bad in the shipping process & doesn't weigh all that much.)

          Since she JUST moved there, I thought her pantry might be a little bare of all but the necessities, so I put in packets of herbes de provence, garam masala, five spice blend, and dry mustard, a vacuum sealed package of Vij's curry paste, sun-dried papadums, my own special tamari almonds, and a little packet of Cocoa-West organic chocolates from Bowen Island (where we live.)

          I am thinking that next time, I will try some dried bean mixes, or wild rice blends, and maybe some dried nori or some other light weight snack.

          Any more suggestions to go in the packages? Thanks!

          1. re: GILTgal

            The thing is all your describing is readily available here, even Vij's spices that can be found at Olive et Épice at Jean-Talon Market. I try to find stuff that really isn't available in Montreal.

            1. re: Campofiorin

              Yeah, I know that practically everything can be found in Montreal. Since I am doing up monthly care packages, I figured I would see if there was anything that might be just a little harder to find.

      2. Vegetarians; pure vegans, or lacto-ovo, will have no problem in Montreal, there is an excelent supermarket in Alexis Nihon, St. Cat's and Atwater, and they have a full line of soy milks, and cheeses as well as a full line of veggie franks, burgers and cold cuts, and great whole wheat rolls and baguettes.
        There is also a health food store on the bottom floor of the mall.
        Mourelatos has a good line of fresh fruts and vegetables, (few blocks from McGill on St. Cat's) as well as a good selection of nuts, seeds ad dried fruits.
        Soul food and Carribean products are hard to find such as collard greens, mustard greens, Yams, okra, plantains, cassava, and green bannana.

        5 Replies
        1. re: tombombadillo

          «Soul food and Carribean products are hard to find such as collard greens, mustard greens, Yams, okra, plantains, cassava, and green bannana.»

          Don't know where you shop but, with the exception of mustard greens, I regularly see all of the above -- and many more exotic fruits and vegetables -- in my regular shopping haunts of Côte-des-Neiges, Mile End and greater Little Italy.

          1. re: carswell

            Me too, I see many of those things all over NDG, including Esposito on Sherbrooke W., as well as various fruit & veggie stores like the Rocky Montana across the street from Esposito. Mustard greens are available at many Asian markets including those in Chinatown as well as Marché Hawaii in St-Laurent.

            1. re: kpzoo

              And don't forget Super-C on St. Jacques, which has a surprisingly abundant selection of produce catering to the Carribean crowd.

              1. re: bomobob

                Yes, Super C is very good about serving the local cultural communities. Loblaws isn't bad ay it either, although I find they don't make as much of an effort as they used to.

            2. re: carswell

              Thank you, that is an eye opener and a kettle filler!!!!
              What are the best subway stops adjacent to some stores carrying these products?
              Thank you!

          2. Do they have Vegemite in Vancouver?
            I may be wrong, but all I seem to find is the Marmite imitation in MTL...

            What about steamed (not fried) ramen noodles? I used to get those in the US but even that seems to have dried up.

            1. I think everybody is missing the most important item of all. Doritos Cool Ranch Chips!!!! OK...maybe not that important but every so often i get a craving and i've only ever found them once in a dep in the Mcgill ghetto.

              1 Reply
              1. re: blond_america

                Spotted this week at the Super C near the Atwater market - but I only saw the large size bags.

              2. Wow! Your friend is lucky to have a buddy like you :-)

                As for food items, I've had trouble finding dried refried bean mix out here...used to live on that stuff when I was a veggie living out on the west coast.

                4 Replies
                1. re: anachemia

                  Yeah, she actually said this week that she hadn't been able to find dried refried bean mix! Now there is definitely an item to send. Any more folks?

                  1. re: GILTgal

                    Really? Where's she looking? I've seen it all over the place.

                    1. re: bomobob

                      Bomobob, could you be a bit more specific please? :-)

                      1. re: anachemia

                        Yeah, over the years I've bought it at Frenco, Fleur Sauvage, National, to name but a few. I think I saw it at Super C as well.