VieAMaggi.com

Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Quebec

Rôtisserie St-Hubert

St‑Hubert is chain of Canadian casual dining restaurants best known for its rotisserie chicken. It is most popular in Eastern Canada with many of its locations inside Quebec, where they originated. The first restaurant opened in 1951 on Saint Hubert Street in Montreal, hence the name.

Although now available in Ontario and New Brunswick, I have only seen the brand in grocery stores back home (Vancouver, BC). They offer their poutine and chicken gravy in tins and their chicken nuggets frozen in boxes. However here in Thetford Mines and in most of Quebec it is every where. Its name instills the same look in everyone’s eyes and the same smile on their lips. A pleasant memory of a delicious meal once had and another one to come.

IMG_2493

My first taste was at the Montreal-Trudeau International airport, where its express location was part of the airport’s food court. So desperate for a taste of his childhood my partner had us leave the airport arrival area, to exit the building and re-enter to access the space that the “St Hurbert” stall was at. A walk that would later require us to clear security again, to wait 15 minutes to have our bags and persons scanned again. In hind sight I agreed that it was worth all the work. Immediately the menu reminded me of “Swiss Chalet” the rotisserie franchise monopoly holder in Vancouver. Though their chicken does not hold a candle to “St Hurbert” I am not a fan of white meat and chicken breast, but their preparation had the meat tender and each bite juicy, even at a food court establishment run by teenagers.

IMG_2608IMG_2609

Two days since our original arrival in Quebec and off to get some more “St Hurbert” Chicken. This would be visit number two at the restaurant located in Theford Mines and we were grabbing take out. The restaurant has two sides. They serve so many take out orders that they needed a separate counter just for the service. On the other side, is their sit down restaurant, for you to eat your favourite chicken in a more formal setting. My partner explained this was considered fancier dining in his home town. I would later learn how true this was. Peaking through both sides you could see that today it was more popular to take your order to go. With sturdy and handy take out boxes they were certainly made to travel the distance. Each bright yellow box was adorned with cartoon chickens. Their mascot, a white feathered chicken with red comb and matching wattles. Here he was advertising his new racing ap game.

IMG_2614IMG_2628

Today the counter was run by one girl. She took requests and received completed orders from the kitchen. Her line was steady, her coworkers were fast. The menu a quick read, back lit. Chicken sandwiches, chicken entrees, chicken on salads, and chicken in poutine. Everything chicken and everything with fries, the epitome of fast food sides.

IMG_2631

We ordered their most popular menu item, the quarter chicken meal. It comes with your choice of dark or light meat, with a side of herbed rice or French fries. We had the white meat with French fries. Each order comes with a serving of coleslaw and gravy. Pre-made and pre-scooped coleslaw in easy to pack containers, it was available in either traditional or extra creamy. Like “Swiss Chalet” gravy their gravy was on the watery side with a peppery bite. Not the lumpy kind you pour on mashed potato, like I was expecting. Actually there was once a “Swiss Chalet” in the town, but it didn’t do so well, not well enough to stay open anyways. Considering its competition, with its loyal and patriotic fan base I can see why “St Hurbert” was the last rotisserie chicken kitchen left standing.

IMG_2630

The club sandwich with fries is another popular order. Made with three slices of bread, their rotisserie chicken breast, tomato slices, lettuce by the leaf, and a generous helping of mayonnaise. My partner even goes so far as to ask for packets of mayo for an additional creamy tangy in his sandwich. As a pretty classic sandwich, it is the chicken that really sets it apart. I personally prefer my clubs with the addition of crispy and salty bacon.

IMG_2611IMG_2868

This would be our third time back to St. Hurbert in Thetford Mines, and this time we decided to dine in. We choose the bar for lunch, for its lively atmosphere. Immediately I was uncomfortable walking in, me in my patterned yoga pants (how Vancouverite of me) and graphic tee. What my partner said days ago wasn’t wrong, this was considered fancier dining. I was dressed for Thetford in warm casual layers, just not dressed up enough for the “St Hurbert lounge. I should of known they were dressy. You could tell by the wall of wine bottles at the entrance, the waitresses is their all back tops and skirts, the loudly playing music over head, and the vignette of wine bottles by the crates and corks in jars above the bar. There was even a stage for a live band to play on. Apparently this place is bumping Friday and Saturday nights.

IMG_2879IMG_2880

And much like the decor the menu was much more in the actual restaurant. Much more than just concession snacks. Bar favourites with beers and dinners with wine, fit to take a first date on. There were ribs by the rack, chicken grilled on skewers, wings for dipping into ranch, gourmet sandwiches made with ciabatta bread and chicken dressed in a whisky BBQ sauce. There were even share platters allowing you to have a bit of everything. For the diners wanting a more upscale dining feel there were an array of fresh soups and dressed up salads, large steaks with potato sides, and grilled chicken over herbed rice meals to sort though. They also had an impressive listing of wines and cocktails with coloured visuals. And a dessert menu boasting over eleven options. I was impressed. It blew my mind and changed by opinion on this chain. They were a causal chain comparable to Earls or Moxie’s. They were more than just fast food. I now understood the popularity of the place.

Here at 12pm we were in time for, so took advantage of their lunch specials. Your choice of main with a side of their standard traditional coleslaw, and either your choice of a soup or a dessert. I was tempted to try something different, but it was my last day here and I couldn’t go home without another taste of their rotisserie chicken. I fear my life at home in Vancouver, BC would not be the same without St Hurbert. Without chicken this moist and skin this crispy, all at a price this fair. I wanted to order something more exciting to blog about, but didn’t. Sigh the blogger’s plight, taste over visual. What I want to eat versus what I want to write about.

IMG_2866IMG_2867

The coleslaw was familiar at this point. Kept cold it was creamy and tangy, the perfect palate cleanser in between bites. Mouthfuls too rich and spoons too greasy. This eas one of the only things I found not too salty on this trip.

IMG_2862IMG_2863

Cream of chicken soup with whole white breast meat. The soup was standard, I would have liked it more thicker and a lot more creamier. Given its name. I found its vegetable taste more prominent over the chicken, and my partner deem the whole lot not salty enough.

IMG_2864IMG_2865

The chicken noodle soup too had pieces of stringy chicken breast. They were as generous with the noodles and the chunks of carrots. This was the classic country soup. The go-to for when you are not feeling well, as it reminds you if home and warms your insides thoroughly. Not a surprise, it was a little too salty for me, and I wasn’t able to finish because of it.

IMG_2871IMG_2872

My quarter chicken leg meal with the upgrade of criss cross fries. The latter was something not offered back in the day, according to my partner. Why have ordinary fries when they can be breaded and cut in a fun to eat criss cross pattern?Sadly my highly anticipated chicken it was dry this time. Normally I don’t use the gravy as I find the chicken great on its own, but today I needed the moisture it would provide.

IMG_2869IMG_2870

My partner had the 11oz BBQ ribs with regular fries. You could smell the tangy BBQ sauce from the ribs as the plate landed on the table. The smell caused your mouth to well up with saliva. The meat was fall off the bone tender. Well seasoned, it definitely didn’t need the gravy it was served with. Instead my partner used the gravy as an accompaniment to his chewy fries.

IMG_2873

Despite this being my third exposure to “St Hurbert” I am baffled about the inclusion of half a hamburger bun with any entree. I know the French like their bread but why this of all the choices a hamburger bun? The bun was pressed flat and toasted with butter. It was good but an unusual to this foreigner.

IMG_2878IMG_2876

We made a mistake thinking it was soup and dessert for the lunch combo, so when our meal ended we tacked on a brownie for dessert. A dessert my partner remembers fondly. “Mont choco” translates to a mountain of chocolate, and it was as accurate a name as it was a description. A chewy brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled in hot fudge, and sprinkled with chocolate balls. It was sticky and sweet and a great end to the decadent meal above. A good way to end my last “St Hurbert” meal.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Overall, all my visits to “St Hurbet” have been good. And although all the North American style restaurants I have visited in Quebec have been standard, this definitely came out as the best of the bunch. As far as succulent chicken goes this has been some of the best, and certainly the most memorable of the trip. We need one of these in western Canada. Don’t deny your cravings.

ST HURBERT
203 boulevard Frontenac O, Thetford Mines QC, G6G6K2
418-335-7557
m.st-hubert.com
Rôtisserie St-Hubert on Urbanspoon

French Canadian Cuisine

As a whole I find the French Canadian cuisine homey, specifically that of Thetford Mines’, a the small town in the Southeast portion of Quebec (Where I was visiting for the week with my French Canadian partner). Compared to Asian cuisine it is simple and almost basic. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with the basics. Elegance is in simplicity and the classics stand the test of time for a reason. And because if it isn’t broke, it doesn’t need fixing.

Various traditional French Canadian dishes involve the use of very little ingredients and is made with such simplicity. Meat pies crafted from flaky pie crusts and seasoned ground beef, enjoyed generously with ketchup. A sweet pie made with baked brown sugar, aptly named sugar pie. And a breakfast meat spread created by cooking pork in milk. Because at the end of the day it is only good and only French Canadian if it involves the use of maple syrup, ketchup, butter, or cheese.

In my exploration of food in Quebec I have learned a lot. Below are some of the uniquely Quebec dishes I have tried. Plates and ways of eating I have never seen within Vancouver.

IMG_2509IMG_2736

“Sugar pie”. This one Frenchy’s mother has made from scratch upon his request. A speciality of hers and to this day still one of his favourite desserts. What is available in an array of variations at any grocery store in Quebec is unheard of it Vancouver. Sugar pie with maple syrup, sugar pie with heavy cream, sugar pies flavoured with fruit, and even a sugar pie prepared with extra sugar. Though given the nature of the more health conscious in Vancouver, it makes sense as to why this pie missing from our dessert roster on the West coast. I can imagine what pops into mind when you hear that the flavour of a pie is sugar; instead of cherry, apple, or any other type of fruit. The latter two are already pretty unhealthy, but replace the fresh fruit with sugar, and you can only imagine the reaction of yoga loving and calorie counting Vancouverites. Whereas here I have failed to meet a Québécois with similar priorities in mind. Here the focus is on taste and the inclusion of maple syrup, their main export.

IMG_2539

“Creton”. The look of it isn’t all that appetizing. It looks like oatmeal, but tilting the container in your hands shows that it isn’t a liquid. Instead it is a lumpy solid, a paste to be exact. I was surprised to learn the lumps are meat and that the white surrounding it is milk. When was the last time you had pork with milk, let alone combined them to be the main ingredients in a condiment? This is common at a traditional French Canadian breakfasts with toast. Popular amongst hunters in the wild as an easy to travel, long lasting, protein heavy meal. “Creton” is a pork spread prepared by cooking pork butt in milk with onions and various spices. It has a fatty texture and a taste and isn’t considered all that healthy. Though I feel much of traditional French Canadian cuisine isn’t. My second breakfast in I was willing to try this in order to write about it. I didn’t like it because it tasted exactly like what it is: pork cooked in milk. Meat isn’t meant to be this crumbly and this soggy. This is a tradition I am happy to learn of, but will go out of my way to avoid.

IMG_2884IMG_2719

Cheese curds. With all the farms around and the emphasis on poutine here, it is no surprise that there is an abundant of cheese available. Here cheese is eaten as is or added to fries and gravy. It is available at any corner store or gas station. Made fresh and packaged the same day, it comes in an array of types, shapes, cuts, and tastes. Salted sticks, peppery ropes, yellow cheddar, the traditional cheese curd, and even salted cheese. Though I already find most of the cheese pretty salty as is, without the need to add extra salt to the batch. In order to enjoy a bag if salted cheese my partner had to suck the outer coating of salt off each stick.

IMG_2723

Ketchup chips are Canadian, and as such are rarely available outside of Canada. They bring together potatoes and ketchup, two natural bffs, in delicious salted harmony. The “Yum Yum” brand is a chip manufacturer from Quebec, Canada.

IMG_2909IMG_2792

Poutine. Any North American style restaurant in Quebec has some version of it on their menu. Be it the regular with fries, cheese, and gravy; or a rendition with some sort of meat and/or vegetable. On occasion a completely different sauce, instead of gravy can be used and it is still considered a poutine. As the province’s claim to fame and as a dish everyone can enjoy, it makes sense to show patriotism by having it on your menu. Even the sushi restaurant we visited had a seafood poutine available. Shame I could see how the other ethic restaurants approach this national dish. Though having said that, not all poutines are made equal. The right combination of chewy potato, meaty gravy, and squeaky cheese curds are required for the perfect serving. Luckily cheese curds are abundant.

IMG_2551IMG_2556

French Canadian style pizza is so heavy that you can’t eat it with your hands. An order comes with enough prepackaged sets of knives and forks to consume your portion with. You saw through layers of salted ingredients over tomato sauce and soften dough. Too much salt. At this point I deem French Canadian cuisine fairly salty. Pizza is made with the crust in mind. The French love their bread, and pizza crust has some of the best bread. As you can see from the picture there is so much much extra crust that it can be classified as a whole different element to the pizza. So much extra bread that they supply enough little cartons of butter to spread over all of it. Because good bread deserves butter. I now understand why Frenchy always spreads butter on his pizza at home. Though pizza in Vancouver doesn’t need it, and this deluxe one that we were having certainly did.

IMG_2656IMG_2671

Game Meats. The hunting culture is pretty prominent here, with stores dedicated to the lifestyle. My partner’s father owns his own arsenal. Bows with pulleys and rifles with heavy gauge bullets. All which he makes full use of during his week long hunting excursions. He travels the Quebec country side in search of deer and moose. A week of cold and sometimes uneventful work with the hopeful gain of enough meat to fill the basement freezer, and a trophy to proudly adorn the walls. Their basement showcases some prize kills and puts on display some impressive weaponry. The first of either I have seen, not on television that is. Heads stuffed and antlers mounted. Photos taken and weapons sharpened. Here the hunting season is only in fall. You can only hunt in designated areas, all labeled different zones. Each zone has its own regulations, it dictates when you are able to hunt, the time you are able hunt, and what weapon you are to hunt with. Shot guns, bows, and crossbows. All to maintain a healthy number of the wildlife population. Varying from this results in very severe penalties. Not only steep fines and the seizures of weapons, but potentially the impounding of vehicles and the possibility of jail time. Hunting isn’t a light matter. Two permits are required to kill one moose. Therefore you need at least a party of two people to hunt moose.

IMG_2730IMG_2734

So I felt very privileged to be able to try moose roast for the first time. A piece of meat hunted and carved up by my partner’s father to be cooked by his mother. This particular moose was younger, so although the meat was not fresh (it had been kept frozen in a cooler, in their basement since fall), it was tender. It was prepared like roast beef and tasted similar to it. Cooked in its own jus with whole onions, where the extra juices was used to make gravy from scratch. Moose is leaner red meat, it does not taste too different from beef. Though it has a tougher texture to carve through and a muskier note to finish on. I would not be apposed to having more moose like this in the future.

As a whole I find Thetford cuisine similar to fast food and concession style dining. Convenient eating, deep fried and dressed in salt. Basic in preparation and simple in concept. There is no raw fish, no unknown ingredients, no fusing of flavours, no shows and no pageantry. Just satisfying, sometimes home cooked, but often comfort foods.

Thetford Mines, Quebec Trip 2015

IMG_2485IMG_2678

Another trip means another travel post series. The destination this time: Quebec, specifically Thetford Mines; to visit my partner’s (aka Frenchy’s) family. The last time he was here was over 5 years ago when he left in search for more than a small town life.

Although my partner is French Canadian, I never really knew what that meant or who he really was, until this visit to Quebec. Or at least I never really put any thought into it. I blame it on my selfishness and pure ignorance. I always thought if you lived in Canada you were Canadian and generally we were a similar bunch. We enjoy nature, we can stomach the cold, we love our hockey, and even more so with beer. And we often say our “pleases”, but always our “sorries”; because we are a polite bunch. I naively didn’t realize how different life from province to province could be. How living in Quebec differs from life in Montreal, like the story of the city mouse and the country mouse. A valuable lesson I was able to learn through food.

This trip has left me reflecting that I definitely need to get out more, and to experience more than what is abundantly available in beautiful British Columbia. This was another eye opening travel experience I wanted to share. Hello Canadian country life in the eyes of an Asian city girl.

IMG_2544IMG_2707

Culture shock
I always knew I was sheltered. A trait when mixed with my natural naïveté has only been to my detriment. It wasn’t until I met my partner did I start considering how big this world is. How different the people within it are. And how what I know to be normal is only normal to me. A lesson I have replayed and reflelcted over the course of this trip. I have been with Frenchy (my pet name from him) for 4.5 years. He hasn’t been back to his birth place of Thetford Mines, Quebec for 5. This Easter long weekend would be the beginning of the week of his return.

I have heard stories and paid attention to the pictures he has showed me. But nothing could prepare me of the shock of it all. Staying in a small town with a population of 25,000, and visiting the other half of Canada for the first time for starters. Small town he told me, I have only ever lived in Vancouver. Big city, long commutes, and easy conveniences are all I know. Five minutes gets you everywhere in Thetford Mines. Where keys are kept in cars, doors are left unlocked, and you are actually friends with your neighbours. A sense of trust and safety only found within a population of 25,000. That itself is a shock to a city girl. After all, growing up I was warned to not talk to strangers, to double check locked doors before leaving, and to keep valuables hidden or near to you at all times. So when you look at all the above and add in the culture below, it almost seems like you are walking into a whole new world. A new experience for me, and one I deemed worth documenting. The below are a few notes I have gathered through observation.

 

God parents.

I don’t consider myself very close to my family. We talk when necessary and can go months without the communication if none is needed. My partner on the other hand takes the time to phone both his parents on the Sunday of every week. It isn’t always lengthly, there isn’t always something to discuss. It is more about the exchange and hearing each other’s voices on the other end. Therefore this week in Quebec, being in the middle of it all was a frenzy to me. Attending reunion after reunion and meeting of all his kin. I couldn’t keep track of all the brothers and sisters, who did what, and which cousins were his favourites. His family seemed so extended. And the concept of god mothers and god fathers is unknown to me, but here they are considered as close as blood relatives. Another set of parents that wish you well and send you gifts during landmark occasions. I guess the more in a family the merrier. A family’s tree grows as younger generations bear fruit, and expands with titles bestowed on love ones

 IMG_2913IMG_2657

Hunting.

The hunting culture is pretty prominent here. Not exactly “Duck Dynasty” territory, but large enough to have stores dedicated to the lifestyle. My partner’s father owns his own arsenal. Bows with pulleys and rifles with heavy gauge bullets. All which he makes full use of during his week long hunting excursions. He travels the Quebec country side in search of deer and moose. A week of cold and sometimes uneventful work with the hopeful gain of enough meat to fill the basement freezer, and a trophy to proudly adorn the walls. Their basement showcases some prize kills and puts on display some impressive weaponry. The first of either I have seen, not on television that is. Heads stuffed and antlers mounted. Photos taken and weapons sharpened.

IMG_2656IMG_2658

Here the hunting season is only in fall. You can only hunt in designated areas, all labeled into different zones. Each zone has its own regulations, it dictates when you are able to hunt, the time you are able hunt, and what weapons you are to hunt with. Shot guns, bows, and crossbows. Varying from this results in very severe penalties. Not only steep fines and the seizures of said weapons, but potentially the impounding of vehicles and the possibility of jail. Hunting isn’t a light matter. Two permits are required to kill one moose. Therefore you need at least a party of two people to hunt moose.

IMG_2671IMG_2730

So I felt very privileged to be able to try moose roast for the first time. A piece of meat hunted and carved up by his father to be cooked by his mother. This particular moose was younger, so although the meat was not fresh (it had been kept frozen in a cooler, in their basement since fall), it was tender. It was prepared like roast beef and tasted similar to it. Cooked in its own jus with whole onions, where the extra juices was used to make gravy from scratch. Moose is a leaner red meat, one that doesn’t taste too different from beef. Though it has a tougher texture to carve through and a muskier note to finish on. I would not be apposed to having more moose like this in the future.

IMG_2732IMG_2734

Drinking.

When visiting friends or neighbours it is not common to travel with a cooler of beers. A pack, some cans, a case or a couple of bottles. A way to keep yourself hydrated and your conversing interesting, without relying on your host. It is considered the norm and almost polite to do so. You are taking care of yourself, without burdening your hosts. Whereas I am use to bringing drinks for everyone, yourself including those hosting, and sharing it all. This often includes finish the lot then, and if not leaving what is left as a further thanks. Here you drink what you bring and you leave with what you don’t finish.

Ethnic food.

The only Chinese restaurant in the city is aptly named “The Chinese Restaurant” (in French). It is not owned or operated by a Chinese family. Instead it serves the North American interpretation of what Chinese food is, prepared using only the flavours they like. This and other such places like it, offer their services as a buffet of all you can eat food. They call it a “smorg”, as in a “smorgasbord” of food. Plenty. It is a line up of dishes that often includes French fries and dinner rolls. There are however two Japanese restaurants here, both specializing in sushi. Though sushi here is not raw fish and rice seasoned in vinegar, it is rolls crafted from fruit and cooked seafood, finished with unique sauces and western condiments. Something I explore further in my post on sushi in Thetford Mines.

Other cultures.

There is actually only one non French Canadian family living in Thetford Mines and they are Filipino in decent. But with Quebec City an hour and a half car ride away, and Montreal a three hour trip in the opposite direction there is a greater blending of cultures and ethnicities to be had. I have never felt so exotic here, looking like I do with tanned skinned and dark hair (well I am blonde to brown now, but do still have my original black eyebrows.) and spouting only English. Ha English exotic. Haha Chinese exotic. Both are very different stories in Vancouver. Here I got double looks and a pause to hear what it was that I spoke. The question on everyone’s mind, where was I from. Normally if asked this in Vancouver I state blankly, “Canada!” as I have been Canadian for majority of my life. But here in Thetford I was honest in saying, “Brunei”. A name of a little known country that resulted in quizzical looks and the need for google. I only became more exotic.
 IMG_2701

 

Affection.

They say that the French are a romantic people. Poetry rolls off their tongues and kisses escape from their lips. Well the description isn’t too far off for French Canadians as well. During our first day in and around Thetford, neigh our first night, I received more hugs and kisses from my partner’s family than I do from my own. More kisses in this four hour span than over the course of a year. (Actually 50% was just from one of his cousins.) Double pecks, squeezes around the torso and head rubs. An uncomfortable spot for a person who has built her personal bubble strong and is naturally awkward with her limbs. So uncomfortable that the stress of it all, and not being able to understand any of the French language surrounding me caused me to develop a cold sore the first day in.

My attempts to bow and shake hands were passed for more intimate embraces. This was to my dismay, as I have really mastered the strong handshake. I was stiff during hugs, I didn’t know where to position my face during cheek to cheek pecks, and my arms just hung like spaghetti to my sides. I swore I inadvertently head butted too many chins to count. I wonder if I offended anyone with my lack of reciprocity. I was told that hugs have to be done closer here because it was colder here. It made sense. Funny. I wish I was able to break through years of constraint and will my limbs to be more friendly. Though such embraces I typically reserve for my partner. Such embraces I am only comfortable giving to my partner. Someone I am close with. Someone I love. Though most recently I have expanded this list to include quick hugs from coworkers who are leaving for extended periods, and embraces from one in particular who insists on breaking my culture’s touching faux pas.

All this affection surrounding me had me reflecting on my childhood. Why am I so cold? Why am I like this? Affection and love were not spoken in my household growing up, though it was however shown. It came through in meals had and was announced through advice given. Not through hugs or kisses, not through belly rubs or pats on the head. Instead in elaborate and favourite meals made often and motherly concern mentioned sternly; sadly advice I could only interpret as nagging and criticism. I thought, the above certainly explained my need for verbal approval. I seek “good job” from my boss and crave “I love you’s from my partner”. I want my friends to consider me a great confidant and my acquaintances to deem me kind. All to drive this affirmation I am missing. The affirmation I crave. I am a people pleaser to my core. I want the verbal over the physical, because the verbal is all I have ever known, as scarce as it was. Sadly to the extent that I don’t even seek out kisses from my partner and am more than satisfied with the fleeting pecks he has grown accustomed to. A state of being I most comfortable with. After all I don’t recall my parents holding hands or even kissing. And the one time that they did, my reaction was to announce “gross”, and to quickly turn away.

This reaction is in line with my feeling  on all affection not directed towards me. I cannot stomach PDA (public displays of affection) such scenes are worse in person where you can only look away. It is easier to avoid in media by covering your eyes. Let’s just say I only watched half of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie. What I saw was only through my fingers covering half of my face. So now in Quebec watching parents hug their children and nieces embracing aunts and uncles I instinctively looked away. It became more uncomfortable with the children kissing one another and grandparents asking toddlers for ones on the lips. Once again I couldn’t help but turn away from it all, like what I was seeing was meant to be done in private and me looking away was me denying any participation and acceptance of it.

Sadly this was all worsened with the lack of communication. They only spoke French. I only spoke English. We only came together when they used the word “sapien noel” in humour. (I only know “Christmas tree” in French.) Luckily I was able to speak through my partner and he was able to put context to my actions. Though I may have inadvertently generalized the Chinese culture for them. What little they know about the Chinese culture is now what they have witnessed through eccentric and awkward me. I know it’s not solely a cultural thing, but upbringing too. I may avoid such actions, but my cousin’s on my mother’s side is daddy’s little girl. She kisses and hugs her father whenever they meet, doing so before anyone. Either way day one was done and I knew there were more hugs to come. I was going to grin and bear it. Though am sure I could never grow to love it.

 

In conclusion, I gathered all this with just first blush introductions. I never expected to be in for such a culture shock. Once again a large enough mind blow that it is worth cataloging. My seven day trip was divided into categories; covering not only where and what I ate, but documenting all my experiences and the differences I have learned in the land of the beaver. Where you drink maple syrup, eat poutine by the pound, and find fresh cheese curds at every connivence store.

 

Page 2 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén