During a big transition, finding a place that reminds you of home can be a saving grace. As a first-year student who moved across the country at 17, I began to feel overstimulated by life itself. The new people, places, transit, and slightly unfamiliar murmurings in a language you only somewhat grasp is difficult to get used to. I didn’t necessarily want to be back home, but I felt so disconnected from the place I was now living in. When I found the Asian market, being in this generic yet familiar Montreal grocery store was the most comfortable I had/I’d felt since moving here. My life felt a little transient and finding a place that was grounded in familiarity made all the difference.
During a big transition, finding a place that reminds you of home can be a saving grace.
Food is such a comforting aspect of living as it is. Whether you share a warm meal with friends or family, or enjoy a meal on your own, food is a source of safety and comfort. Being away from home and its familiar scents, restaurants, dishes, and flavours was difficult. Montreal is such a hub for its own realm of delicacies, yet differs from the ones I’m used to. Growing up in a predominantly Asian community, foods like steamed buns or specialty soups were easy to come by. As excited as I was to dive into the dining environment and find my own regular spots, the disconnect from my hometown hole-in-the-walls made me realize that I was in uncharted territory.
Marché Newon at the Guy-Concordia metro stop is the place that reminds me the most of the Greater Toronto Area. Its familiar layout and product offerings bring me comfort and make Montreal feel more homey than ever. The sight of the bok-choy bundles, the pile of fresh ginger, and endless sauces bring me back to my local Asian market at home. From having access to ingredients that I can use to recreate my home-cooked meals to the selection of frozen foods that can be made almost instantly, it was surprising to realize how much food brings me comfort.
If you decide to take a trip to Marché Newon, here are a few items to look out for!
- Instant Noodles
Yes, we’re starting with a university classic, but aside from the stereotype, instant noodles coupled with different toppings and add-ons can make a very viable meal. Cooking a soft-boiled egg, and throwing some frozen dumplings and vegetables on top can really transform a cheap and easy meal. There are so many different types and flavours that it is destined to suit any palate.
2. Frozen Steamed Buns
This cheap, convenient, and delicious meal can be made in a microwave with a damp paper towel, or in a steamer if you have one. Take one in your bag for lunch or steam a few for a quick dinner. On days that you spend a little too long at Redpath and have even less motivation to cook than to do your work, these will be a life-saver.
3. Bok Choy
This vegetable is my favourite because of how versatile it is. Whether you stir fry it in a pan with some soy sauce, garlic, and ginger or use it to top off your instant noodles, bok choy is a quick and easy way to get your helping of vegetables.
Sometimes looking at fresh produce, aisles of instant noodles, and cold drinks is exactly what is needed when a big transition becomes too overwhelming.
Although it may seem trivial, Marché Newon was a saving grace in making my move as seamless as possible. Sometimes looking at fresh produce, aisles of instant noodles, and cold drinks is exactly what is needed when a big transition becomes too overwhelming. The intimidating facets of moving were alleviated as I found the place that reminded me most of home.