I’ve written before of our love of markets as places not only for great food, but to get a feel for the centre of local life in a city. In North America, this idea is perhaps a little less pronounced. Grocery stores still dominate even in big cities, but on weekends, locals and tourists alike flood to the markets for organic fruits and gourmet mustards.
Despite our European market adventures, one market WB and I had never been to was Toronto’s own St Lawrence Market, which boasts the title of National Geographic‘s best food market in the world. In fact, the only other market on this list we’ve been to is Borough Market, so obviously we have some traveling to do!
After wandering through the bustling, colourful market, we sought out lunch.
WB found some veal pierogies that tasted very authentic (there was one potato one I had a bit of). I had a sudden craving for fried cod tongues and hoped perhaps the enormous seafood fry place would have them. But alas, it seems Newfoundland really is the only part of the world that actually likes them.
Instead I found chickpeas stir-fried in mustard which was really delicious and filling, and actually I got at a place whose primary purpose was selling short ribs. It was simple and cheap but obviously showed care and thought into providing something a little out of the ordinary to vegetarians (and I believe this was vegan too). Despite vegetarianism hardly being uncommon, even many fancy restaurants don’t cater very well to non-meat eaters, providing heavy, cheese-filled pastas and risottos instead of trying something new. So, in short, I appreciated this dish.
And, in short, we appreciated St Lawrence market. It was lively with large variety and lots of free samples (including wine!).