Every city has its glossary of foods—and food vocabulary—that define its culinary identity. In Portland, Maine, you couldn’t avoid lobster if you tried. Tampa brings the hot-pressed sandwich of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread. Chili with the works in Cincy means it’s ladled over spaghetti and garnished with the likes of grated cheddar, diced onions, and kidney beans. So when you’re heading out to Montréal, Chicago Tribune recommends to keep the following in mind for culinary fluency:

  • Montreal-style bagels: Expect bagels “boiled in honeyed water and made with egg and an unsalted dough.” The most famous spot to get them is St-Viateur Bagel.
  • Smoked meat: Eastern European Jews brought the tradition of smoked beef brisket to the city about 100 years ago. Check out Schwartz’s Montréal Hebrew Delicatessen and The Main.
  • Poutine: With a 50-year-old history, poutine has established itself as a Québécois classic. Locals will point you to Patati Patata and La Banquise. The latter is open 24 hours.
  • Portuguese chicken: This marinated then roasted/grilled chicken can be served “plain or with spicy sauce, which can range from a reddish chili paste to a seriously potent rub of spices and red pepper flakes.” The city swears by Portugalia (boldly flavored) and Romados (great fries and juicy chicken).
  • Coffee: “For a laid-back cafe vibe, big bowls of latte luxury and delicious savories, go to Cafe Neve. For boisterous atmosphere, lots of soccer and sports and wonderful Italian-style coffee, head to Olimpico.”
  • Deep-fried foie gras: Already rich, foie gras is given the deep-fried treatment in Montreal. Chicago Tribune recommends Au Pied de Cochon’s simple foie gras cromesquis (akin to a croquette; with a liquid center) over Joe Beef’s Double Down sandwich, wherein fried lobes of foie sandwich maple syrup-covered bacon.
  • Public food markets: Depending on your intended purchase, Marche Jean-Talon is good for fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers; you can find quality butchers, bakers, and cheesemongers at Marche Atwater.

[via Chicago Tribune]