Three Real Canadian (Quebec) Foods

-- "Steamies", "Poutines" and "Smoked Meat Sandwiches".

Steamies are wieners in hot dog buns that have been steamed in a special machine, and topped with mustard, green relish, and chopped cabbage/onion mixture. The bun is soft, the wieners pop juicily, and the onions tell you who your best friends are!

Poutines are fresh fries, layered with cheese curds and topped with what I can only describe as chalet-barbecue chicken sauce. It's not barbecue sauce like you get from Kraft, but thin and highly seasoned with rosemary. You can get dry packets to make up with water in most spice sections. (Quebec has the best cheese curds -- no, it's true!  The New York Fries franchise holder here in Victoria imports the curds from Quebec!) If you buy just plain fries in Quebec, traditionally you lace them with salt and pour white vinegar on it to "wash the salt down" as my Dad always told us.

You can get poutines everywhere now -- when I first moved to Victoria in 1991, the only place that carried them was a little hole-in-the-wall near the Armed Forces base, which of course has a good number of Quebecois members stationed at it! Now, Burger King, Harvey's and A&W hamburger chains have poutines, as do New York Fries.

And, Oh! *real* Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. Not pastrami. Not "Montreal smoked beef" as many places try to tell us, but real thinly sliced, sweetly spicy, juicy smoked meat on light rye bread with a schmier of mustard.... There was a restaurant in Victoria that carried *real* smoked meat (and it was run by a boy named Alan - such a Montreal name!) but sadly it went out of business. I tried to eat enough to keep it open, but ... I haven't had a smoked meat for more than a year.  (He had real Montreal potato salad too; don't know what makes it different and I never knew there *was* a Montreal potato salad till I ate his!)

Contributed by:
Barb Wright
Southern Vancouver Island Area
Victoria, B.C. Canada

Barb didn't mention one crucial fact about Montreal Smoked meat sandwiches - there should be at least an inch of these thin slices to make it real... My
son scoffs at Waterloo MSM sandwiches, which have real smoked meat - but only a slice or two.... When he comes home he wants real bagel & real MSM... It is interesting how widespread these local delicacies have become...

Contributed by:
Helen Archibald
Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada

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This page last updated February 20th, 1998