Hands up - who goes to the Brantford International Villages Festival with the goal of eating something from every Village? … and then rolls themselves home? We absolutely love trying food from a variety of cultures over 4 days, all made lovingly with the hands and hearts of our very own Brantfordians. If we’re pulling at your heartstrings, and your tummy is grumbling, then why not recreate your own version of the Villages at home? Handmade pierogi, butter chicken made from scratch, jerk chicken that helps to use up some of that allspice that’s been sitting in your pantry for months - they’re all so much fun to make at home! If you have a beloved family member or close friend in your social circle who can pass down some recipes, take some time to learn techniques and recipes from them to pass along to your own friends and family.
However, some of us are not that confident in the kitchen, and many of us are juggling many different hats that make cooking from scratch a struggle. If you’d rather order in, here are some of our favourite cultural dishes from some of our independent, locally-owned Brantford businesses:
Atlantic Village: Halifax Donair Poutine at Spool - Gourmet Poutine & Mac ‘n Cheese | 111 Sherwood Dr., Brantford
Enjoy Halifax’s official snack - the donair! Unless you’re a native Bluenoser, you’ve likely not tried this deliciously messy late-night wrap full of split roasted shaved beef, tomatoes, onions, and the signature sweet and savoury garlic sauce. We love Spool - Gourmet Poutine & Mac ‘n Cheese’s take on this eastern Canadian dish. Their Halifax Donair poutine is made with fresh-cut fries, Little Brown Cow cheese curds, rich meat gravy, thin slices of donair meat, onions, tomatoes, and that famous donair sauce.
British & Scottish Villages: Corr Blimey’s British Shoppe | 170 Brantwood Park Rd., Unit 9, Brantford | 226-227-9621
Enjoy delicious treats from across the pond at this independent, locally-owned shop. Corr Blimey’s British Shoppe, imports items from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Enjoy potato scones, clotted cream, preserves, empire cookies, scotch pies, haggis, square sausage, Cornish pasties, and more. Not quite sure what to get? You can’t go wrong with British snack food, like Walker’s crisps (potato chips) in fun flavours that you’ve only dreamed of (like Guinness!) and their incredible array of candy bars.
Caribbean Village: The Irie Grill, 186 Market St., Brantford | 519-802-6578
Discover the flavours of the Caribbean at The Irie Grill in downtown Brantford. This restaurant, named after the Rastafarian friendly greeting, “irie”, specializes in the friendliest service and authentic, full-of-flavour Jamaican dishes. Try the flavours of jerk chicken, whole red snapper, or roti with a side of sweet and savoury plantains. Don’t forget to pick up some Red Stripe, a Jamaican lager, to wash it all down.
Chinese Village: Nanking, 71 Charing Cross St., Unit 5, Brantford | 519-756-0810
Chinese food probably isn’t new to you, but we have so many Chinese food restaurants in Brantford that you’ve likely not tried them all! Have you tried Nanking, a locally-owned Chinese restaurant that’s been right here in Brantford since 1982? Their full course dinners are delicious, and encourage you to try new dishes that you can share with your whole family. Not sure what to try? Choose from their Chef Specialties, like Shanghai Noodles, Sam Sea Chow Mein, or Soo Chow Wontons.
Fiesta Pinoy Village & Phillipine Village: Winnie’s Filipino Cuisine | 519-717-5833
Get a taste of the Philippines made by hand by one of Brantford’s very best Filipino chefs. This home-based business offers made-to-order dishes, like: Pancit Noodles, a dish made with stir fried noodles, chicken and vegetables, and Lumpia, which are spring rolls made with a mix of vegetables double-wrapped in lettuce leaves and egg crepes and dipped in a sweet garlic-peanut sauce. Described by Brantfordians as “insanely delicious” and “super yummy,” this hidden gem is not to be missed if you’re looking to recreate the Fiesta Pinoy Village at home.
German Village: Karl’s Schnitzel and Sausage House | 79 Icomm Dr., Brantford (in the Brantford Farmers’ Market) | 289-339-3370
Is there anything better than schnitzel on a bun with fresh squeezed lemon juice? Karl’s Schnitzel and Sausage House in the Brantford Farmers’ Market is a staple for fresh Oktoberfest sausage and schnitzel. Each week their specials change, and range from German Goulash, Schnitzel Parmigiana on a bun, and Carrot Potato Soup with Smoked Sausage. Make a trip to the Brantford Farmers’ Market and make sure you grab breakfast or lunch from this beloved local business.
Our bellies are rumbling from a combination of overeating, and somehow also undereating, so we’re taking a break until tomorrow. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our All. The. Food blog to learn more about how to fill up with some of your favourite cultural dishes from the comfort of your own home.