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When moving to a new city you have to find the things that you need to live your life how you like, and for some it means getting the right food. Montréal is a great city for this.

This weekend we went to both Little Italy and Chinatown.

Jean Talon market stall (Montrealfood.com)

Jean Talon market stall (Montrealfood.com)

Little Italy

Little Italy is centered around Boulevard St-Laurent’s intersection with Jean-Talon. It has several delis, bistros, supermarkets and of course the Marché Jean-Talon.

Jean-Talon is a huge fruit and vegetable market in building that was designed to be a bus station. The choice and freshness of the produce is incredible and it’s quite a bit cheaper than the supermarkets. I’ve never seen anywhere that gives a choice of around 10 different types of tomato in one place. It’s really worth a visit to this market and it may become your weekly shopping trip! The only moot point is the lack of organic fruit and vegetables, we only found one stall.

The Jean-Talon market has a car park on Avenue Casgrain, but it’s rather small and if you don’t want to queue to get in, arrive very early at the market! Officially the market opens at 8am.

 

Jean Talon Chillis (Montrealfood.com) 

Typical vegetable & fruit stall at Jean Talon (Montrealfood.com)

Typical vegetable & fruit stall at Jean Talon (Montrealfood.com)

Jean Talon Chillis (Montrealfood.com)

 

 

Elsewhere in little Italy there is the famous Italian supermarket called Milano. It’s a great supermarket with a large choice of mainly Italian products. There are even some fresh products available from the deli-counter. It’s well worth a trip here, especially for the pasta as it’s difficult to get a lot of Italian pasta in Montréal’s main supermarkets.

Milano supermarket: 6882 Saint-Laurent Boulevard

 

 

 

Chinatown

Montréal’s chinese community has been established for many years. Immigrants came over initially to build the railway line towards the west and the community has grown ever since.

Today, Chinatown is focused on Rue Gauchetière Ouest from St-Laurent boulevard. It’s about three to four blocks long and has restaurants and boutique shops. Noteworthy is the Harmonie Patisserie where you can taste asian cakes made with red beans and custard. Yummy! Be careful though, there are some which contain meat, unusual in western cuisine. 

A typical street in Montréal's Chinatown (urbanphoto.net)

Of course there are chinese supermarkets, and it’s very chinese with very little written in French, but a great variety of food. If you’d like even more choice, then you can take the car to the South-Shore and visit Brossard’s chinese stores. They are along Boulevard Taschereau from Blvd du Rome to Blvd du Matte.

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Shopping

Today we’ve been shopping. We started out taking the métro to McGill to pick up the hire car. A Hyundai Sonata: fab car, easy to drive, but it’s been smoked in and is thus a bit smelly.

As we were downtown, we had a quick wonder down Rue Saint Catherine, Montréal’s main shopping street. It feels a lot like New York and the architecture is very similar… except everything’s in French.

After walking a couple of blocks we went for brunch at the Eaton centre foodcourt – had Japanese Edo stirfry. Really good to have some veggies after the plane food the day before! There are 32 “restaurants” in the Eaton centre foodcourt. Wow!

We then went to get SIM cards for our cell phones – 30 EUR each! And then one didn’t work 🙂 After this, home to get some sleep (in theory) and out to Walmart to pick up some stuff… well we filled the car’s trunk, but discovered that there’s no fresh food there. Fortunately there was an IGA down the road so we filled up there. 

IGA has some great stuff, organic food is a bit lacking though. The layout is really good, each fruit has a description to help you choose and there is a lot of choice. There are varieties that aren’t seen in Europe – looks like we’re going to have fun trying it all out.

Oh and the Bagels… they’re so good! Not at all like the rubbery things that you find in Europe. They’re crustly on the outside, soft on the inside – really great!

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