Our journalist travels around Greater Montreal to talk about people, events or places that make the heart of their neighborhood beat.
“It’s Toys ‘R’ Us to me,” Cong-Bon Huynh says.
Can going to the grocery store be so exciting?
It certainly was for the people who stood in a long line before the doors of Supermarket T
“There were so many people,” says Cong-Bon Huynh, who was curious to witness the official introduction in Quebec of the country’s largest Asian grocery chain.
To make discoveries among the 20,000 products on sale, we asked the head teacher at the School of Catering and Tourism Trades in Montreal to accompany us from one aisle to another at T
In the fruits and vegetables section, the Montrealer of Vietnamese origin first drew our attention to the dragon fruit, which turns out to be more beautiful than tasty, and to the presence of the jackfruit, not to be confused with the durian. , the smell of which is very pronounced.
Cong-Bon then said he was impressed by the large selection of mushrooms (about fifty!), and he was not the only one… “I am amazed and even shocked. I’ve never seen so many varieties,” enthused Evelynne Barten, a teacher at Cégep Vanier – located nearby – who was making her first jump at T
The offal section is also impressive, as well as the one with bakery and pastry products (your children will love the brioche bread).
Thanks to Cong-Bon, we then learned that candles are made from 100% beef fat, that salted duck eggs have a long tradition in China, and that if chickens are very dark in color, almost black is because it is an ancient breed from Asia: the silkie chicken. The cooking teacher then politely corrected the situation when we dared to say that duck tongues were unappetizing when it is rather considered to be a delicacy.
We chatted with Long Duc Ong, a regular customer of T
“I like coming here: it’s big, it’s clean and nice. I look at discounts,” he added, pointing out that inflation is also hitting Asian products.
It’s not even 11:00 a.m. when people are lining up for the ready-meals, take-out or eat-in counter. “Lunchtime is always full,” confirms store manager Alex Chen.
To say that Tina Lee, CEO and daughter of the founders of T
“Our arrival in Quebec is a big step forward for us,” says Tina Lee looking back.
However, the task was colossal when it came to language and labelling. “We hired a team of seven full-time translators for a year,” she says.
Tina Lee is delighted to see that customers of Asian origin mix in her supermarkets, for whom the products are a matter of nostalgia and tradition, and others eager for discovery. “Those who take cooking classes while traveling,” she illustrates.
Tina Lee grew up in Vancouver, where there was not a Chinatown like Montreal, she points out. “There were small businesses, but none where you could find everything like at Safeway,” she explains.
Her mother, like many busy parents, dreamed of a “clean, modern and big” Asian supermarket, says her daughter, so she and her husband founded the first T
“The older you get, the more you go back to basics,” says Cong-Bon Huynh, for whom Tonkinese soup remains the most comforting dish.
“Kitchen design for me is about the love you give to someone,” he emphasizes.
One thing is certain, there is enough inspiration for new recipes at T