My visit to Canada just had one focus this time: FOOD !
Visited Toronto for the weekend and had to pack in as many recommended must-eats as possible.
Started the trip with Miga at Mississauga, a Korean/ Japanese Restaurant suggested by a Foodie and food-writer friend Ash Basu. Tried the 'pork bibimbap'. I was expecting a big bowl of rice with assorted meat, veggies and fried egg topping - all together. But what we were served was a deconstructed version where every time was served separately. Pork in 'gochujang paste' (a traditional Korean spice paste) was served on a bed of rice in a Dolsot, a stoneware bowl which retains heat for a very long time, which makes the rice from the bottom crunchy and crispy - a Korean delicacy.
Next morning headed to the The Saint Lawrence Market. One of the best Farmers market in the world. Filled with local produce, specially food, exotic fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood , condiments.
It is literally a food lover 's delight and one of my bucket list was ticked. While going around the fresh market, I felt like Alice in Wonderland ! The freshest of fresh produce, variety of meat, fish, shellfish, oyster, grains breads bakery confectionery and several speciality foods from around the world.
Then tried the famous 'pea-meal sandwich'. Recommended by none other than chef Anthony Bourdain. That was an experience. Early morning , people queued up for that sandwich. The shop was nothing more than a stall selling peameal sandwich on one side and had bread assortment on the other side. I also happily stood there for my turn. When I had the beauty in my hand and took a bite, I understood why it is so famous. Sometimes simple unpretentious food works the best. No fancy garnish, no exotic ingredients. Thick cut bacon almost 2 inch thick, cheese and fresh bread. That makes a peameal sandwich. Scrumptious!
Next stop was Kensington Market. That place is famous for a smorgasbord of cuisine culture. Restaurants serving cuisines from around the world - a delectable place for any foody.
Tried a restaurant 'Rasta Pasta'. Highly recommended place for Jamaican 'jerk chicken'. I tiny little hole in the wall, but somehow the chicken tasted like a Chinese dish to me. Overloaded with soy and barbecue sauce. Missed the jerk seasoning and rub flavours what I was expecting.
Next food stop was 'Chicken & Waffles'. I always thought it that was a southern delicacy. However this Canadian restaurant called it the northern fried. This mixing of sweet with savoury is not unknown to Indians. Gujaratis have Jalebis with Fafdas. Similarly Canadians and Americans have pancakes and waffles with fried chicken, honey and maple syrup. Great light and crispy waffles with crunchy chicken - a super combo.
Next turn was to try 'tacos'. Had heard a lot about the famous Seven Lives Tacos. They open at 12 in the afternoon. There was queue from 11.30 am outside that tiny restaurant. A take away joint with one small sitting space. The most popular was the 'baja fish tacos'. It consisted of soft tacos, batter fried fish, salsa and mayonnaise. Also tried the 'ceviche tacos' and 'grilled fish tacos'. My first experience of 'ceviche' on a crisp taco.
After this food adventure, when I really had no place for any more food, spotted a Spanish place selling 'churros'. That was too much of a temptation to resist. Had a portion of hot churros sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce.
Next morning headed to downtown Toronto.
Tried out various food trucks. There were several international food options. But the Venezuelan experience was fabulous.
Tried out 'Arepas' for the first time. Arepas are cornmeal bread stuffed with different flavours and fillings. I opted for a pulled pork and cheddar arepa. Looks almost like a bao bun. Soft, melt in the mouth texture, with fragrant slow cooked pork and cheddar cheese - was simply divine.
Walked upto the chef of the food truck to have a little chat. He mentioned that the most popular in Venezuela is the chicken and avocado salad arepa.
A delightful food trek in Canada over a week end. The country is truly cosmopolitan and melting pot for global cuisine. It is surely a foody's dreamland.
Try Canada sometime for your food adventures - I assure you will not let down.