By Tara Sprickerhoff, Ali Rodriguez, and Sarah Turnbull
OTTAWA – Canada is often referred to as a mosaic. It’s thought to be full of different cultures co-existing in harmony to form one of the most diverse countries in the world. A 2003 study by the Centre for Research and Information on Canada found that 97 per cent of Canadians liked the fact that different cultures live together peacefully, united as a nation. One of the most visual – and tasty – ways that this manifests itself is through Canadian cuisine.
An important aspect of Canada’s multiculturalism is our cuisine. Food allows immigrants to create a slice of home here in Canada while simultaneously supporting themselves and providing other Canadians the opportunity to experience different distinct cultural communities.
We explored three prominent ethnic cultures.
Vietnamese and Indian
Ottawa is well known for its numerous shawarma restaurants. Thanks to the large population of Lebanese immigrants in the capital region, locals and foreigners are able to experience a bit of culture through their taste buds. Canadians get to experience a bit of the Middle East from home; foreigners get to experience a bit of home here in Canada.
Shawarma is a pita sandwich traditionally filled with beef of chicken, vegetables, tahini sauce, and garlic sauce and usually accompanied by garlic potatoes.
Hassan Kassabak is from Lebanon and is currently studying in Canada. He says that eating shawarma is almost a daily routine.
“I get shawarma pretty much three times a week,” says Kassabak. “It’s weird, because although the shawarmas are different back home, I still think of Lebanon when I get shawarmas in Ottawa—it’s more of a cultural symbol than a physical experience.”
We have located the best spots in town so you can enjoy this culinary experience from the Middle East.