I don’t know for you but at home, grocery shopping is the barrel of the Danaids. There is always a key product missing—it’s like our fridge is swallowing the contents when we are not looking.
Today is Chinese New Year, and our multicultural house is celebrating the beginning of spring (not quite there yet in Canada!) and the beginning of the year of the Snake.
I must have walked/driven by the Merivale Fish Market thousands of times, but I had never tried it. I didn’t even know what kind of food they had exactly—well, fish, obviously, but I wasn’t sure what kind of place it was.
Well, now we’ve been there. Verdict? Good fish but I found the restaurant overpriced and the service wasn’t great.
The day after Canada Day, a friend of mine and I headed to Chinatown for a sushi lunch. Our first choice was Sushi 88 but it was closed for the day, so we went next door to Yummy Sushi, an all-you-can-eat sushi place I had never tried.
The great part about immigrating to a new country is that you don’t lose anything—you gain new experiences and broaden your horizon. Sure, I occasionally miss French food (although I can quickly get sick of it) but I also discovered a lot of new products that don’t exist in France, or foods I just wasn’t familiar with.
Ottawa is addicted to Phở, the Vietnamese soup. A few years ago, one phở restaurant opened, then another one, and another one… and now phở places can be found from Chinatown to the far suburbs of Kanata. Really, what’s not to like? Phở restaurants are typically cheap if not very fancy, and I guess the soup is quite comforting during our long winters.
I’m not your typical cordon bleu French cook, but I tend to stay away from supermarket bakeries because the lists of ingredients they use scare me. So once in a while, I bake. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated: I usually follow recipes loosely (seriously, who has all the ingredients on hand?) and hope for the best.
I usually avoid eating in the Byward Market because some of Ottawa’s worse restaurants operate there, and because food can be pricey and mediocre. I always feel for tourists who end up there and pay big bucks for bad food. But sometimes, there are nice surprises.
When I’m in Canada, my French foodie friends and I sometimes indulge in food porn fantasies, naming the brands of cookies we miss the most and the dishes we wish we could recreate but can’t because there is always some key ingredient missing. So when I went to France after a two-year long absence, I had my eyes set on the food.
A decade ago, José Bové, the farmer syndicalist, was fighting against junk food (he famously sacked a McDonald’s franchise to make his point) and French would rather have some baguette with stinky cheese than a hamburger. But the more I walk in Nantes, the more I wonder whether the French diet is still a good diet.
Although I’m not a huge fan of sweets and rarely have candy or chewing gum (I like mints, that’s about it!), I found these gumball machines at the mall very picturesque.
If you spend time outdoors and the temperature is below zero, you deserve a treat.…
A lot of you are curious about the food in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Rest assured: there is some and we are not starving. Quite the opposite actually.
To a lot of French, food in North America means junk food. But as I realized when I came to Canada, there is a huge difference between your usual sad-looking fast-food combo and the food served in local greasy spoons.
Yes, there is such a thing as a good burger.
Ottawa finally caught up with the sushi craze and sushi joints have been popping up all over the town. But we are not Vancouver, and here there are mostly two ways to satisfy your sushi cravings: picking up a box of assorted sushi at SushiGo, Go For Sushi or whatever combination of these keywords; or hitting one of the more or less “authentic” all-you-can-eat sushi buffets.
When I think of restaurant areas, the downtown part of Bank Street isn’t the place that comes to mind first. To me, Bank Street equals great bakeries and a long string of coffee shops—not great food. But on a cold Friday night, my favourite foodie partner and I didn’t want to walk too far so we ended up at Taste Ramen+Fusion, a new restaurant that took the place of the old Ichibei.
Most places in the Byward Market are overpriced and cater to tourists. Planet Coffee is one of the exceptions. The courtyard is quiet and the atmosphere very relaxed. While there seems to be a big turn-over of staff (that or I really don’t have a good memory for faces!) it still feels like a neighbourhood coffee shop.
Alright, I was never 500 pounds neither I am 100 pounds today. I’m average. I’ve never been described as “skinny” or “thin” but again, at 5’7, I’m not a tiny little thing so I’m not aiming for that. My weight hasn’t changed in the past three years and I’m about the same as when I came to Canada in 2004.
But moving to Canada played havoc with my body, especially in the first few years.
We attract supermarkets.
When we first came to live in the neighbourhood, there was only a Loblaws. Then came Food Basic and Shoppers Drug Mart, right across the road from Loblaws. And when we came back from traveling this winter, we discovered that a huge Wal-Mart had popped up on the other side of the road. We now have three supermarkets within a 20-minute walk.
On Sunday, my foodie friend dragged me to the Ottawa Veg Fest in the Glebe. Okay, she didn’t “drag me”, I volunteered—I love food and the perspective of sampling delicacies from restaurants all across Ottawa was exciting enough that I actually got up early and skipped breakfast.
Coming from Australia, where food was expensive and not exactly haute-cuisine, South-East Asia was a foodie’s paradise. First, food is cheap by world standard and simple meal usually cost under $5. Second, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have a “street food” tradition and numerous hawkers offer local delicacies on-the-go. Finally, the blend of flavours was simply amazing, from Thai curry to Penang’s Nasi Lemak.
I’m lucky to have a strong stomach and a taste for street food. I’m not a huge fan of “weird” meat (i.e. intestines and the like) but I can eat pretty much anything else. You can’t really apply Western health standards to Asian street food but I’m perfectly fine with that. Who wants to live in a tasteless sanitized world, anyway?
Some couple argue about money, religion or work. We argue about food.
Food is deeply cultural and in our Chinese-French-Canadian household, we blend flavours. Some would call it “world cuisine”. I call it “a-compromise-so-that-we-don’t-kill-each-other”.
The Byward Market is somewhat of a fixture in Ottawa. It is located downtown, close to the Rideau neighborhood, between Sussex and Rideau St. There is a main market building (very similar to Kensington Market in Toronto or to The Forks in Winnipeg), surrounded by an open-air market on George, York, ByWard and William Streets.