French-Canadian Montréal, just 330 miles north of New York City, is an increasingly exciting place to be, whether it’s live music, cultural festivals, contemporary art, boutique shopping, or incredible food and drink you’re after. We are predisposed to favor the latter, naturally, and Canada’s second-largest city, with its ethnic diversity and rich (if tumultuous) Franco- and Anglophone history, does not disappoint. Start by exploring the most regional of Québécois foods—the meat pies, the pork spreads, the beans in lard—and you’ll begin to notice a theme: This is a meat-centric city. Given the area’s bitterly cold winters and early-European-pioneer lineage of hunters, trappers, fur traders, and farmers, it’s no wonder these foods became (and remain) associated with breakfast, the time of day to stock up on hearty, high-fat protein. The people’s excuse for eating these dishes today? History, tradition, nostalgia—plus the food’s damn good. Thankfully, many of the old dishes have survived even in cosmopolitan Montréal, right alongside more celebrated French favorites and those beloved, comparatively newer classics (smoked meat, bagels) introduced by European Jewish immigrants.

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