Here’s a new discovery (for me anyway)…it’s Poutine week in Toronto and Montreal (Feb 1 – 7). Who would have thought that there would be an entire week devoted to savouring decadent grease soaked fries (fried in lard, I am told), topped with cheese curds, gravy and just about anything else you can imagine. A heart attack on a plate, poutine is Canada’s culinary offering to the world.
Those who love it, rave about it. But, it took me exactly 88 1/2 months to gather enough courage to try Poutine. Ok, so you might say that I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to my food. Friends call me “picky”, “unadventurous”. The verdict: I liked it (I could push ‘like’ to ‘love’, if you twist my arm enough). A good poutine explodes with flavours in your mouth. Now that I’ve had my first, I think I’ll be checking out some Poutine hotspots before this week is out. There goes what little I have left of my waistline.
If there’s one local delight that could take an immigrant to Malaysia 88 1/2 months to try, I’ll say it’s the durian – a football sized thorny fruit that, when in season, engenders a ritualistic frenzy among many locals. If you happen to be in Malaysia during durian season, here’s what you do. You drive up to a road side fruit stall, squat in front of durians piled high, pick out ones that are ripe – the smellier they are, the better – hack into it and savour the delightful custardy flesh of the fruit. When sated, you pack a wicker basket full of durians into the boot of your car and head right home for another ritual eating session with the extended family, friends, or the folks who run the hotel that your staying at. I loved the durian and this ritual as a kid, but can’t endure its smell or taste as an adult. Because of its pungent, putrid smell (and, I’m being kind), durians are banned on Singapore’s subway system and my brother’s car. One is also banned from getting into his car, if they’ve just eaten a durian. Like the Poutine in Canada though, the durian is a must try for anyone visiting Malaysia.