蒙特利尔烟肉 Montreal Smoked Meat

by shirls on December 21, 2007 · 14 comments in 加拿大自助游记,吃在四海,吃在蒙特利尔,蒙特利尔自助游记

(Dear English readers, please scroll down to find the ‘click’ for English translation)

今天突然想到,我已很久没写有关美食的贴字了。 因为,我已很久没为食物拍照了。Ed受不了我在吃前将桌上的食物挪来挪去, 硬要为我们的食物’ 摆一摆姿势’,以拍出好照片。他现在禁止我在吃前拍照片,以免影响胃口,要我们安心吃就好了。其实,在餐馆对着食物疯狂拍照,顾客总会投以好奇的眼光,我也蛮不好意思的。 嘻嘻!

今天,我找到旧照片,要为大家介绍介绍蒙特利而驰名的烟肉。

烟肉其实是一种古老的肉类腌制法。简单来说,人们用盐,各种香料调味料来腌制肉类几天。这样可以将肉中的水份抽出,以防止细菌滋长。接着,将肉类放在火上面的烟‘烤’ (注:不是放在火里烤,只是用烟来‘烤’)。古人发现烟有防腐作用。在远古时期,没有冰箱,这样可以防止肉变坏, 主要是不要浪费食物, 和收藏起来以备收成打猎不足时吃。加上烟味让肉更好吃。算是两全其美的方法。而且,用不同的木起的火,会’烟’出不同的‘烟味’。

有些欧洲犹太人保存了这种烟制法。当他们移居北美时,也将这种方法带进北美。它那种在肉类留下的独特‘烟味’,使它开始普遍起来,尤其在蒙特利而。现在,烟肉已成了蒙特利而的到地特色。

(以上两张照片来自Schwartz’s的网页

我第一次去蒙特利尔时,Ed无论如何要带我去著名的Schwartz’s 餐厅吃。Schwartz’s 的烟肉是当地最有名的。记得,我们晚上去时,队伍排到街上至少一尺远,听说常常是这样的。我们不想排,等到第二天三,四点才去。还以为这段时间不是午餐时间,也不是晚餐时间,我们该不用排队吧。怎知,还是排了二十多分钟的队。我俩还因为排队排得‘火’了,为无聊小事吵了起来。但我们一吃到好吃得不得了的烟肉,‘火’就消了,因为排队是值得的 😉

加上,这间餐厅有七十多年的历史,从没搬迁,也没特别装修过。里面只长长桌子几张,小桌两三张。如人少去,通常要和别人同桌。烟炉前有一张长长的高桌,一个人来吃的,喜欢坐在那,一边吃,一边看人‘烟’肉。虽有点窄,又有点乱,我倒觉得很‘古色古香’,很特别。我吃得津津有味。

听说,因为烟肉很受欢迎,但古老的腌制和烟法很花时间,所以有些餐厅会加上一些化学物来催促过程,或加强烟味。 Schwartz’s那么远近驰名,也是因为他们自称一点化学物或防腐剂都不加。一切按照古老方法。我看到一大堆一大堆的肉放在一旁时,其实有点怕。可是,还好我们没拉肚子。我想,古老方法该还管用。

当我最近去蒙特利而和一位来渡假的朋友聚聚时,他一见到我,就告诉我Schwartz’s 的烟肉多好吃。我哈哈大笑,说我也很喜欢呀!:)

Today, I suddenly realised I have not written a post about food for a long time. The main reason is Ed banned me from taking photos of foods. Usually, before we eat, I would move around the dishes in the table, so I can take better photos. And Ed finds it too distracting, all he wants is to dig in and eat. Also, it is quite embarrassing in the restaurant too because other customers will look at our table and wonder what these two people are doing. So, I stopped taking food photos and forgot my ‘mission’ here to introduce good foods with you all 🙂

So, I found some old photos today, and would like to introduce you all to the famous Montreal Smoked Meat !

Traditionally, the method of smoking the meat is a way of preparing meat to keep its freshness and to prevent it from decomposing. Briefly, this method involves marinating the meat with salts, some herbs or spices first. This is to dehydrate the meat, so bacteria has no water to grow. Then, the meat is ‘cooked’ by smoking the meat on the smoke above the fire. It is because smoke was found to have preservative properties. During the ancient times, when refrigerator was not invented yet, they used this method to preserve the meats, in order not to waste valuable food, and to insure against poor harvests or hunting seasons. In addition to that, the smoke taste on meat make it more tasty, hence smoking has become a method of both preservation and favouring. Using different types of wood, can also produce different types of smoke tastes.

Some European Jewish communities have kept this tradition and brought this method into North America when they immigrated there. The special and unique smoke taste on meat has made this deli a popular choice in North America, especially in Montreal. Nowadays, smoked meat is identified as the emblematic of the city’s cuisine.

(The two photos above were taken from Schwartz’s website)

When I first visited Montreal, Ed wanted to take me to one of the most famous smoked meat restaurants in Montreal, Schwartz’s. When we went there one night, we left immediately because the line was possibly more than one meter long on the street outside of the shop. Could not be bothered to line up, we waited till the next day, and went there around 3 or 4pm. We mistakenly thought that, those times were not lunch time nor dinner time, we should be able to find a seat more easily. Of course, we were wrong and we still had to wait in the line for over 20 minutes to get into the restaurant. While we were waiting in the line, we both got a little impatient and started to argue on trivial stuffs for no reasons and out of frustration. However, when we tasted the extremely delicious smoked meat, we both thought that the waiting was worth it.

Schwartz’s has more than 70 years of history and the store is at the same location ever since. I don’t think it has renovated much since too. Hence, it gives a very original and old traditional feel. It has only a few long tables, and possibly only two to three small tables inside. If you come as a small group, you may have to share tables with others. Although it is a little squashy and messy inside, I really enjoyed this unique experience and of course the excellent smoked meat.

Since smoked meat become popular, and the traditional way of smoking tends to take too much time, some people or restaurants started to add chemical additives to the meat, in order to fasten the process or to add more smoke taste to it. Schwartz’s is famous also because they claimed they don’t add any chemicals or preservatives, but only abide to the traditional way. Frankly, when I first saw the loafs and loafs of meats sitting aside in the shop, I was a little skeptical and worried. Fortunately, we did not have any diarrhea as such, it was just me who was overly sensitive. I guess, the traditional method is still very true and useful.

When I recently went to Montreal to catch up with a friend visiting there, the first thing he told when he saw me was, how delicious the smoked meat at Schwartz’s was. I laughed and told him I really like it too ! :)

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