Chinatown is amazing.
Some days I find it hard to choose a restaurant, because I’m just not sure what I want to eat. But you know, even at times like that I can always find something I’m craving in Chinatown. It might be a plate of salt-pepper squid, or a bowl of pho, or a BBQ pork bun, or bubble tea, or dim sum, or durian fruit, or some prepackaged snack from a corner store that comes all the way from China – or Japan, like Pocky – but I know I’ll find something delicious.
Pocky is amazing by the way. If you’ve never had it, it’s quite simply one of the finest snack foods ever invented: crackers (salty) coated in chocolate (sweet) – it’s the food of the gods. Makes me wonder why it took the people at Nature’s Valley so long to come up with their sweet and salty granola bars!
And it’s more than just the best place to eat. Want eclectic produce? Go to Chinatown. Where else can you find kafir lime leaves, Thai eggplant, mangosteen fruit, and dragon beans? All brought in from Thailand, or Vietnam, or wherever.
And the everyday produce is crazy cheap, too! Stuff like garlic, peppers, and sprouts. Trust me – grab what you can there instead of at Loblaws and you’ll cut your veggie grocery bill in half!
Anyway, it’s the best part of town – hands down. (Well, maybe not for living, but there ain’t nothing like it for food and groceries.) It’s a real microcosm. Or maybe more of a micro-microcosm in Ottawa. Our Chinatown is a bit small scale, but it’s still got all the essentials.
Sure you can get a lot more stuff and a lot cheaper in Toronto or Montreal, but that’s okay. Ottawa will do for now.
Small though it is, I can always find something I haven’t seen before. There’s always a surprise. Today we went for dinner – had a lovely feed of duck, squid, and fried rice – and decided to take a stroll to the nearest corner grocery. And what did I find? Kaya!
What’s Kaya? Well it’s a sweetened coconut-based spread for your toast. I had it when we visited Malaysia last year and I was hooked. Who knew you could get it here?!
Since leaving Moncton, I’ve found a lot to love about living in a big city. (I know Ottawa’s not especially big, but at least it’s got a Chinatown!) I know I could never move back to a smaller town because I would truly miss Chinatown. Now I just need to decide if I want the hassle of moving in order to get a bigger selection.
Put another check mark in the “pro” column for a move to Toronto.