Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Quebec City Shish-Taouk (Fistons and Mechoui Marrakech)

While poutine is perhaps the most famous must-eat food in Quebec, another food that I had read about before visiting and came across over and over again in the city was shish-taouk. Shish-taouk seems to be the French Canadian version of chicken shawarma. There were restaurants that specialized exclusively in shish-taouk, and I ended up sampling the dish twice while in Quebec.

Fistons (Limoilou)
My first shish-taouk experience was at a restaurant in Quebec's Limoilou neighborhood. They specialized in pizza and shish taouk. Since shish-taouk was on their sign, I decided I must try the Sandwich Shish Taouk. The shish-taouk here was served inside a pita. Accompanying the chicken was lettuce, tomato, pickled turnips, and some sort of creamy sauce. I was a little disappointed with this sandwich. For a food that Quebec is apparently famous for, this chicken was very bland. There wasn't much flavor besides the taste of chicken. The turnips inside the pita were a nice touch, but they didn't make up for the lack of other flavors in the sandwich. Cubed, home fries style potatoes were served on the side. Again, not much flavor on these either. Salt and mayonnaise improved both the sandwich and potatoes.
While I wasn't a huge fan of my dish here, the person I ate here with ordered the Poutine à la Joue de Boeuf. Fistons' poutine topped with beef cheeks was awesome. It used sweet potato fries rather than normal potatoes. The beef cheeks were melt in your mouth tender and were bursting with flavor.
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Restaurant Mechoui Marrakech Cusine Marocaine (Downtown Quebec City)

This Moroccan restaurant was located in Downtown Quebec. According to Wikipedia's article on shish-taouk, the dish is more of a Lebanese origin, but this Moroccan restaurant served it as well.

Rather than just trying the shish-taouk, I ordered the combo dinner. This was a sampling of shish-taouk, kefta, merguez, and gyro. The meats were served over rice with sides of taboule, garlic sauce, and salad.

The shish-taouk tasted like very flavorful chicken, much better than my previous shish-taouk experience. The kefta was a little bland, basically tasting like ground beef. The merguez was new to me. I had never had a sausage from a middle eastern restaurant in the past. The rice and taboule were nice and flavorful, and the garlic sauce was wonderful. The pickled turnips on the salad were also a nice touch.

The shish-taouk was good, but the combination of everything else made this one of my favorite meals of my trip.

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