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Sep 16, 2011 10:29 AM

top 10 food to eat in Québec (the province)...

(I'll let the moderators move it, but want to give you lot the pleasure of starting the conversation)

Top ten food to eat in the province.

The list includes the usual suspects (poutine, bagels, ... ) but there are a couple of surprising entries, ethnic like food : Shish taouk (montreal-ish version), Couscous and Haitian Tassot.

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  1. It's funny they put shish taouk before smoked meat sandwiches, but admittedly I do eat shish taouk more often. Nice list and useful for visitors.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Plateaumaman

      It's weird they put it on the list at all cause there's way better shawarma in Ottawa and Toronto. (I don't get the whole Boustan thing at all. It's not bad but it's average by Ontario standards.) And it's not street meat, cause there is none. Aside from that and the chip wagons, which they're obviously confusing with smalltown casse-croutes, they seem to know what they're talking about.

      1. re: Shattered

        Let me know where in Ottawa you had a great chcicken shawarma (aka shish taouk in Qc) because I never had a good tasty one yet.

        1. re: maj54us

          Sharwama Palace and Sharwarma castle are my 2 favourites.

    2. They should have put Poutine in the Monteregie and not throughout the province. They missed duck from Lac Brome, Apples and/or apple cider, ice wine, etc. And pork - what would APDC be without the pig? And that's off the top of my head. I'm certain if I spent some time, I could come up with some more (like blueberries, croissants and beer).

      1. We have roadside chip trucks? I wish...

        20 Replies
        1. re: cherylmtl

          I suspect this is one of those travel articles written by someone with no first hand knowledge of the destination.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            I agree, SnackHappy. A few things including the chip-truck comment struck me as odd. Eating a bagel in front of the oven?

            1. re: SnackHappy

              And if I'm not mistaken (unless they've been well hidden from me for many years) Fairmount bagels can't be readily found in most grocery stores here, although St. Viateur bagels certainly can...

              1. re: cherylmtl

                thanks for sharing this article, I think they did a good job --one of the more accurate overviews I have seen come out of the States. I have seen such chip trucks in villages, rural areas. I suppose you could eat bagels inside fairmont bagel but no tables. It is true easier to find shish taouk all across the city and I eat more of that not only because so easy to find but I dont really like smoked meat all that much. I rarely eat duck anymore nor do I see it much on menus and as for apples, blueberries so easy to find elsewhere.Other provinces have good icewine. I have seen Quebec lamb in grocery stores in Ontario and it is wellregarded. Actually I think the authors got it right in their selection and liked how they squeezed in some interesting elements added in sections such as with cheeses, Tourtière. I think the info they put in about different cultural groups made it even more interesting and I learned something as well. I applaud them for this article and dont think I lack firsthand knowledge of the destination of Montreal.

                1. re: mangoannie

                  "I have seen such chip trucks in villages, rural areas."

                  The article says they can be "found on busy city streets."

                  1. re: kpzoo

                    granted but do we pan such a glowing article and fairly accurate overview because of such possibly minor points, to tell you the truth I have no idea if jonquiere, shawingan, sherbrooke have such trucks, I did see them outside of Quebec city.

                    -- but if authors went to some sources related to poutine there would seem to be some loose translation of chip trucks for potato shacks/cantines/greasy spoons


                    I have seen many more chip trucks in Ontario though.

                    1. re: kpzoo

                      Well legally speaking, there is no distinction between town and cities by Quebec, both are represented by the term ville, in constrast with aglomeration rurale and village authotone for example. So small rural agglomeration in English speaking Canada could still be named as cities in Quebec, maybe the confusion comes from there?

                      1. re: vanierstudent

                        There's no confusion if you speak English. I think the confusion comes from the writer thinking about another place (perhaps Ottawa or Toronto) where you can, indeed, buy poutine from roadside chip trucks. I would go with Snackhappy's theory.

                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          I have had poutine at roadside snackbars outside of Montreal, no problem. Let's not be too Montreal-centric. And you can eat a bagel next to the oven at the St-Viateur bakery and café on Mont-Royal.

                          What is more disturbing is the view that poutine is the number one culinary delight that distinguishes Quebec cuisine, non? That doesn't bother anyone?

                          1. re: Plateaumaman

                            "I have had poutine at roadside snackbars outside of Montreal, no problem."

                            So have I, but never from a chip truck on the side of the highway or the busy city streets. Those things just don't exist in this province. There are a few converted buses here and there, but they are up on cinder blocks. AFAIK, poutine from a chip truck is an Eastern Ontario thing.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              downtown Shawinigan is famous for its roulottes (food trailers) which I always found did good fries... I'd agree that you see converted buses that don't move or "shacks" but I don't remember any chip trucks.
                              but all in all I really don't get all this fuss about not having food trucks in Montreal, just because Eat St highlights a few good ones. For the most part, NA street food is not very good.

                            2. re: Plateaumaman

                              yes, the popularity and usage as a cultural reference of poutine as the national dish bothers me plenty. I prefer the purist tradition of french fries the quebec way with vinegar and salt. Yum!

                            3. re: cherylmtl

                              Yeah I know, but what I meant that any city with less then 1.5k inhabitant is still technically a city by Quebec's law. I was quite tired at the time and just realized that this argument doesn't make any sense.

                              haha sorry

                        2. re: mangoannie

                          I take issue with associating cheeses specifically with the Eastern Townships. Sure they have lots of cheeses there, but really, there are great cheeses from all over the place.
                          I also take issue with the assumed implication that
                          a) what Montrealers call "tourtière" should indeed be called a "tourtière" (they should have stuck with "meat pie", which is a perfectly fine description for the dish, and too nice a description for the pork hamburger pie-like things one can find in Montreal)
                          b) tourtière contains ground meat (it doesn't, though meat pies do)
                          c) actual tourtière (the "mythical" Lac-Saint-Jean kind which does not necessitate such precision and has only been heard of in the touristy books) is some sort of filling variation of the standard meat pie (it isn't; otherwise one might as well say a calzone is a variation of raspberry pie).

                          1. re: poumonsauvage

                            True about the cheese. Actually, the way the author felt the need to associate every dish with a specific region makes me believe she is not a native Quebecer.

                            PS: Tourtiere du lac St-Jean is a variation that uses game meat and potatoes.

                            1. re: SourberryLily

                              Let me reiterate: meat pies (which like any Bleuet, I refuse to call tourtière) and actual tourtière (the "lac St-Jean" kind for the uninformed) are not variations on a theme. One is a savoury shallow pie, best made in muffin-size format, filled with ground pork, a little bit ground veal, finely chopped onions and celery. It cooks in half an hour in the oven since the filling has been pre-cooked. The other is a large deep-dish pie made with pounds of diced meat (preferably including game), diced potatoes, chopped onions and broth (preferably hare and partridge, the only kind of meat you pre-cook in the filling). It takes an entire day cook in the oven and feeds a small army.

                              Thus, the common meat pie has more in common with apple pie than with tourtière, hence my calzone/raspberry pie analogy.

                              1. re: poumonsauvage

                                I agree that the dishes are quite different, but wether or not one can call them tourtière is a matter of regional tradition.

                                Toutritère du Lac, tourtière du Sagueney. tourtière de Charlevoix, cipaille and cipâte are all similar dishes and indeed variations on a theme.

                                As for the matter of pâté de viande vs. tourtière for meat pie, as a native of the Montérégie I claim the right to call those tourtière.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  I'm only doing this to encourage discussion and increase awareness of the pure awesomeness of tourtière (du Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean) : ), and the fact that we do make regular meat pies back in the land of blueberries, and they are way better than the stuff available in Montreal (they got smoke meat and bagels, but they don't get to claim everything, especially not meat pies, or traditional poutine)...

                                  Trappist made chocolate covered blueberries should have been on that list too...

                                2. re: poumonsauvage

                                  I'm from Lac-Saint-Jean and have eaten tons of tourtière over there from all over the place. I've never seen any tourtière with diced meat. What everybody I know over there uses is ground meat but ground very big vs the regular ground meat you see everywhere.

                        3. re: SnackHappy


                          And i've never had Tassot. I'm sure it's all around but i don't think the vast majority of quebecers would know what it is.

                          They skipped ice wine, ice cider, blueberries, apple products like freshly made apple juice. That's real quebecer, and stuff other countries don't have. That's not in your tourist books!

                      2. Shish Taouk may be Montreal's "street meat" but it's pretty awful across the board. Abu Elias does a decent sandwich, but there's really nothing great or even particularly good about shish taouk in this city. Boustan is disgusting, I'm sorry to say. Passable only for drunk college students. The quality of ingredients is garbage, cleanliness is questionable and everything is microwave zapped in those styrofoam containers. I'm guessing whoever wrote this article has never actually had real shawarma, because Lebanese/Middle Eastern street food is almost non existant in Montreal.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: OliverB

                          We don't really have street food at all, do we? (festivals excluded)

                          1. re: SourberryLily

                            Street food isn't a Quebec thing, and especially not a Montreal thing (where it's plain illegal).

                            1. re: poumonsauvage

                              I'd heard they used to have a great street food culture here, but it was Mayor Jean Drapeau who outlawed it to make a good impression before Expo 67. Anyone know if that's actually true?

                            2. re: SourberryLily

                              I had a hotdog and orange julep at the big orange today and ate it at a picnic table in the parking lot, isnt that a kind of street food? They also have quite a variety-spaghetti, salmon burgers, grilled cheese sandwich etc. They are putting up a temporary sunroom for winter (I never realized they stayed open in winter!) to bring the tables in sheltered area How many people take out food from Patati Patata and go eat in the park as not much space. I am sure there are other places where takeout is eaten outdoors. So even though food is prepared and served inhouse as per bylaws we do manage to enjoy some of it as street food! Maybe thats why we love our terraces/patios.

                              I dont have any problem with Quebec being associated with poutine, not my taste but some people enjoy it (there were lots of orders of poutine being handed out at Big Orange today) and it is fairly unique to the province, atleast historically. Belgium is famous for its fries and mayo but they also have excellent cuisine. Apples, chocolate covered blueberries, meatpies nobody is going to write home about . I bought some strawberries from the new Fruixi bikes (they were downtown for no car day) and these were so sweet, best I had so far, they come from ile d`orleans--now this is one idea that should take hold across the city, more Fruixi across Montreal svp.

                              Patati Patata
                              4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

                              1. re: mangoannie

                                I always thought wild blueberries were a Northern Ontario thing till I moved to Montreal and discovered many people here assumes they are only in Lac St-Jean. Lots of chocolate covered blueberries, cheeses, apples and maple in Vermont too. It might have been nice if the list had featured some new and unusual items created by local chefs or something instead of relying on the idea of traditional cuisine. And poutine is just so cheesy as a regional/national dish (pun intended).

                                1. re: Plateaumaman

                                  I think we are missing the boat, Quebec radio program described Nova Scotia as the blueberry capital of Canada, and Toronto holds poutine eating contest!


                                  ...."Nova Scotia, the biggest producer of wild blueberries in Canada, recognizes the blueberry as its official provincial berry. The town of Oxford is known as the Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are other Atlantic provinces with major wild blueberry farming...."

                                  They even have a giant blueberry as gateway to Oxford, NS and what do we have comparable - just a giant orange or big chicken weathervane. If we dont put up the giant poutine statue soon someone else will beat us to it!

                                  1. re: mangoannie

                                    "If we dont put up the giant poutine statue soon someone else will beat us to it!"

                                    Haha! Great post to start my monday :D

                                    1. re: SourberryLily

                                      Smoke's poutine is so awful, and they are billing poutine as a Canadian dish already! Well, there is a poutine eating contest at Poutineville in October, if that helps? Details on Facebook.

                          2. I LOVE POUTINE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: sahipalachandran16

                                Since this thread is suddenly "new" again... How about this a means to make it fresh and new?

                                Using nothing from the article:
                                1. Steamé "all-dress" from a casse croûte
                                2. Manikish from an Arab bakery.
                                3. Beans for breakfast
                                4. Oeufs dans le sirop at a Cabane a Sucre
                                5. Steak Frites at a bistro
                                6. Croissant at a bakery
                                7. Foie Gras just abut anywhere
                                8. Confit de Canard
                                9. Pizza/Italian Submarine
                                10. Charcoal Grilled Chicken
                                11. Pea Soup
                                12. Homemade Charcuterie

                                Anybody have any other specific foods that we generically do particularly well here?