Tag Archives: Canada

Happy New Year – How I welcomed the Year of the Dragon

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Today begins the first day of the year of the Dragon and in honor of Chinese (Asian) New Years, I went to a new-to-me restaurant that I’m dying to talk about – Wok Box!

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved “Chinese food” (I add the quotation marks because I’m referring to American style Chinese food) so when my friends suggested grabbing lunch there, I was all over it – despite never going to one before.

As we walked through the doors, I transformed into a kid in a candy store. Really, I wanted EVERYTHING (with the exception of beef/pork/seafood – why you ask? click here). I settled on the Indian Butter Chicken with Naan rice bowl – I’ve been on a huge Indian food kick lately. This place has everything – Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian inspired cuisines and I was in love. It is quick, the selection is superb and the price is right.

Check out http://wokbox.ca for more! If you’re outside of Canada, change the location in the drop down menu found in the upper right hand corner. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Oatcakes: A Cape Breton’s Scottish Tradition

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Growing up on the east coast of Canada on a little island called Cape Breton, my knowledge of foreign foods was not always broad as others in my country but coming from such a cultually-enriched area certainly aided to my knowledge of fantastic feasts. Cape Breton is a small island of around 147,450 people but we are a mighty crew strong in Celtic, French and Mi’kmaq heritage and traditions. The following food is one that I will forever associate with my little island and my childhood.

The oatcake is known on the island and around the rest of the province as being typically “Scottish” or “Celtic”. I can remember being a young girl in the kitchen with my grandmother rolling the oats and cutting them with a glass, specifically put away for the job and nothing else. At my uncle’s restaurant, they make the cookies from the same recipe passed down from my great-grandmother but instead of cutting them out with a glass, they use the sharp edge of a tin can which seems to do the trick. Either way, they’re delicious and a part of my Scottish heritage.

There are many other dishes from my Acadian background that I could talk about but I will save those for another day, but I really felt that since I’ve written about foods from around the world, I should probably speak about something from where I call home.

I’ve included my great-grandmother’s recipe and a link to a fellow blogger’s site (Cape Breton News) for your enjoyment 🙂

Toast sandwich and other stuff….

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So yesterday as I was checking out the daily news on BBC, I came across a very interesting article about sandwiches. The headline for the story: “Toast sandwich is UK’s ‘cheapest meal’“. In the UK, this “toast sandwich” is basically a slice of toast in between two other pieces of bread…. if this doesn’t sound up-to-snuff for you, you can add jelly, butter, mayo or any other preferred condiment.

Ironically enough, South Korea also has something called “a toast sandwich” but it has a little more sustenance in my opinion. If you say “toast” to a Korean, they assume that you mean a fried egg, lettuce, cheese, sweet and hot sauce and pickles in between two slices of grilled bread. It’s very similar to what I would call a “western sandwich” back home. And they are amazing! You can easily find vendors selling these delicious snacks/breakfasts at bus terminals, train stations, near popular landmarks and anywhere really you might feel the need to eat a “toast”… they’re honestly, everywhere.

All this talk about toast leaves me to wonder… if given the choice between the UK’s “toast sandwich”, Korea’s “toast” and North America’s idea of “toast” (a slice of bread slightly browned with butter, cheese or jam), which of these would most people choose???

Turkey day!

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This weekend is the second “Canadian Thanksgiving” I’m missing since moving abroad and it has got me thinking about different Thanksgiving holidays around the world. For me, growing up in Eastern Canada, Thanksgiving gave me an extra day off school and a turkey coma a few times over. Traditionally, the turkey was accompanied by stuffing (no boxed stuff – my mother would never allow it), cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, turnips, carrots and of course, gravy. Some people will deck their home in gords – pumpkins and the such, corn, cornucopias, etc for the occasion which takes place the second Monday in October.

Last year I partook in my first American Thanksgiving which is pretty well the same event with the main difference being the date. Thanksgiving in the USA takes place the fourth Thursday in November (which is when it’s colder for us Canadians hence why ours is a little earlier). This holiday is quite important (being on of the “big six” major holidays) to Americans and many schools reenact the story of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving at school plays… And let’s not forget the parades… and football!

It seems that most countries have their own celebrations of harvest such as Germany, Liberia, The Netherlands and Norfolk Islands. Now, I can’t speak from personal experience in relation to the celebrations in these countries but I can for the Korea equivalent… Chuseok.

Chuseok celebrates the end of the fall harvesting season and falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (so anytime during September – October) and last three days. During these few days (usually coupled with a weekend to give a longer vacation) families travel from all over to visit the graves of ancestors to remember… this makes travel around the country a nightmare, but it’s a very important duty to be with your family. Younger Koreans will traditionally dress in Hanboks and bow to their elders in exchange for a few thousand won. When it’s time to eat, the food does not stop coming. Compared to the turkey and dressing in the west, Koreans indulge themselves on fruits, fish, chicken, tteok, kimchi and most importantly- songpyeon… a sticky and chewy mini-cake made of rice. And don’t forget the soju!