5 Quebec Foods to Try on Your Next Visit

Alley in Quebec City

The province of Quebec is known as being a little bit different from the rest of Canada. The origin of this is likely because this area was settled by France (as opposed to Britain) which is why Quebec speaks French and not English. Because of all of this, it’s not unsurprising that there would be cuisine that is native to Quebec. Although a lot of these are enjoyed by people across Canada, they all originate from Quebec. So the next time you’re in Quebec, make sure you get over your fear of speaking French and try some of these dishes.

 

Poutine

This is the one that, even if you have never been to Quebec, you may have heard of if not tried yourself. Poutine is widely enjoyed throughout Canada and occasionally in other countries. It consists of French fries covered in brown gravy and cheese curds. You’ll definitely find variations of this, but the standard brown gravy and cheese curds is the classic. You can find this delicacy everywhere from food stands to nice sit-down restaurants. Of all the dishes that come from Quebec, poutine is easily the most popular and the most well-known.

 

Pâté chinois

Pâté chinois (Chinese pâté) is a dish from Montréal that is absolutely delicious despite its somewhat bizarre name. Some say the name comes from Chinese railway workers who introduced it to French Canadians many years ago. However, that explanation is mostly just speculation. It consists of ground beef, corn, mashed potatoes all layered upon one another with other ingredients thrown in depending on the style of whoever is making it. This is very similar to what we call in English Shepard’s Pie. You definitely will find this in restaurants, but it’s mostly known as a home-cooked meal. Either way, it’s definitely a must try.

 

Tourtière

Tourtière is a meat pie dish that comes in a variety of different forms. It originates from the province of Quebec, but has because somewhat popular in the rest of Canada especially in the neighboring province of New Brunswick. Its make up is remarkably simple, consisting of just a meat (usually beef, pork, or whatever else is available / desired). Tourtière is especially popular in December around the holidays.

 

Pouding chômeur

This one is the first and only dessert on this list. Pouding chômeur (poor man’s pudding) is a simple dessert made up of cake batter on which caramel or syrup is poured before being baked. It became popular during the great depression which is probably where the origin of the name came from. Although it can be eaten at any time of the year, it is especially popular during times when maple sap is collected.

View this post on Instagram

Thirty percent of Canada’s labor force was unemployed during the Great Depression. In the French-speaking province of Québéc, women had many mouths to feed and few ingredients to work with. Legend has it that pouding chômeur (“unemployed-person pudding”) was created by female factory workers relying on the inexpensive staples they had on hand, much like other desperation-inspired dishes such as sugar cream pie. During tough times, Canadian women made the pudding from stale bread and brown sugar sauce. Then, they baked the syrup-soaked, bubbling casserole until a golden, caramelized crust formed on top. Despite its belittling name, pouding chômeur provided comfort and energy for those who needed it most. After 1939, bakers replaced the leftover bread with a buttery dollop of thick batter. Fresh maple syrup and heavy cream became the accoutrements of choice. Locals still consider the melding of Canadian ingredients and French techniques an example of quintessentially Québécois cuisine. Today, restaurants and home chefs prepare the baked pudding with walnuts, citrus, and other ingredients reflective of economic stability. During the chilly saison des sucres (sugar season) in early spring, pouding chômeur keeps diners cozy and content, employed and unemployed alike.

A post shared by R. Rummel (@rr_obscura) on

 

Soupe aux pois

Soupe aux pois (translated as pea soup) can be made at any hour of the day, but is great served as an appetizer to any larger meal. This dish can be found all over Quebec and is usually spiced up with onions, celery, bacon, salt, pepper, and whatever other spices the cook feels is needed. Despite pea soup’s bland reputation, the Quebec version is anything but. This delicious meal is highly recommended to anyone taking a trip to Quebec.

 

Quebec is full of countless original dishes that everybody should try no matter where you are from. With such a rich and vibrant culture like that of the Quebecois, you are bound to find not only other dishes that you like, but other culture elements that peak your interest.

If you are already familiar with traditional Canadian cuisine then give the food of Quebec a try. I’m certain that you won’t be disappointed.