Quick, define “Canadian cuisine”! And no, poutine is one dish; not an entire cuisine. C’mon, you’re in Canada, you have to know what your cuisine is! Don’t try the whole “Canadian cuisine isn’t a thing, we don’t have a culture” bullshit. I know Canadian cuisine is real, because even the menu at Silver Wok has a “Canadian Foods” section.
Even though I know that, logically, every geographical and geopolitical region inhabited by people develop its own culture, and part of that culture is cuisine, I can’t quite put my finger on how to describe the Canadian one. Since I came to Canada, I have been to many restaurants proudly claiming their exoticly ethnic cuisines – like Chinese food, because China is totally exotic with its 1.3 billion population and third largest landmass as a country.
I have had more variety and more authentic Chinese food in Canada than I ever did when I lived in China. In fact, there are some parts of Chinese cuisine, and even history, that North American people have preserved better than Chinese people did. I had my first taste of the great General Tso’s Chicken in the prestigious Manchu Wok restaurant in Scarborough Town Centre. When I asked what that is, the cashier told me it’s a classic Chinese dish, and I can find it in every Chinese restaurant. My mind was blown! For my entire childhood I read dozens of cookbooks my mother and grandmothers had, and I’ve never heard about this dish. Must have been censored by the Chinese government.
I was taught to not be picky with my food and not to waste food like a good kid. Anything that is not poisonous, toxic, spoiled, stinky, or bitter shall be eaten with grace. I was shocked when I first heard that some people choose to not eat certain types of foods. Like vegetarians, or pescaterians, or meatatarians, or vegans, or whatever other things they call themselves – I didn’t know what the point was. That’s why I decided to try being a pescaterian myself to see what the deal was. It was pretty easy considering I was living off of caf food in my first year, so it wasn’t real food (I mean Chinese food) anyway. It lasted as long as Lazy Scholar had fish burgers and veggie burgers in stalk. One night it didn’t, so I broke the spell and had a pound of wings.
I had a couple of friends who didn’t eat fish – okay, one of them would eat fish only if it was a well-done piece of Salmon. I went to have all-you-can-eat sushi with them one day; it was the best-deal meal ever, because all they ate was the rice, and I was fed all the fish on top of their sushi!
I can probably never live on only one type of cuisine anymore. If I really had to, it’d probably be “my mom’s cooking”.