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This land of ours: Quebec

Ask yourself, "What is Canadian cuisine?," Susur Lee spoke about harvesting from the land as true food from the Great White North, bit in today's landscape, we are a society of varied backgrounds and perspectives. 

It's a tense time in the world right now, with immigration at the forefront of political dialogue. In this story, we searched across Canada and found the restaurants that are putting their own spins on cultural cuisines from around the world. While many are focusing on division, we think that it's diversity that gives a community its beauty and strength. And what better way to experience than through food.  

In this instalment we look at British Columbia, but you can also check out the Canadian best from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.  

What: Agrikol

Where: Montreal, Quebec

It’s been dubbed Montreal’s hot spot of Haitian cool: the breezy Caribbean escape known as Agrikol—so named for a style of rum distilled from cane juice in the French Caribbean. This much buzzed about new venture pairs Jen Agg and Roland Jean—of Toronto’s Black Hoof fame—with Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne and Win Butler. Of the foursome, Jean and Chassagne share a more intimate bond to crafting Agrikol’s fiercely independent cuisine. The former grew up in Port-au-Prince, while the latter is the daughter of Haitian immigrants. And much like the menu, the vibrant Agrikol space unveils a very French Quarter vibe. Fitting for Montreal’s Haitian community, which is one of North America’s largest at 100,000 plus people. 

What: Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon

Where: Mirabel, Quebec

Located in a small cabin in St-Benoît-de-Mirabel—about 45 minutes from downtown Montréal—Chef Martin Picard’s unique and seasonal Cabane à Sucre slings out indulgent, distinctly French Canadian twists on traditional recipes. It’s as authentic as real deal Sugar Shack cooking (also known as sap house, sugar house, sugar shanty, or sugar cabin) gets, where sap is collected from sugar maple trees, boiled into maple syrup, and slathered as a primary ingredient in varied dishes. In Cabane à Sucre’s case, we’re talking fluffy omelettes with potatoes and Béchamel cheese sauce, as well as pea soup stew with smoky bacon. Sugar pies are a favourite too. It’s extravagant and gluttonous, to be certain. But would you expect anything less from the man behind the ridiculously decadent Au Pied de Cochon? 

What: Lavanderia

Where: Montreal, Quebec

Chef Antonio Park remembers his life starting in South America: Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. It’s where he spent his childhood, and consequently, the food he cooks at Lavenderia is a strong expression of where he grew up and the culture that formed his palette. Think a mixed parillada grill, fat chunks of beef fat, butterflied cows roasted entirely, and loads of sweetbreads, ribs, kalbi, bone-in striploins, white chorizo, spicy red chorizo, and blood sausage. These are the true flavours of South America and it’s elevated Argentine cuisine at its finest.