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How All Street Food Should Be


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The Pitch

A Syrian, an Egyptian and a Tunisian walk into a Tunisian restaurant…  That is not the beginning of a joke, but rather how I ended my Wednesday night with two of my work colleagues after some drinks over happy hour.

The Tunisian member of our trio had been wanting to expose us to his homeland's cuisine for a few months now, which is how I found myself at Abouda, a Tunisian street-food eatery located on Plaza Saint-Hubert.

Having wrongfully assumed the North African nation's kitchen would resemble that of nearby Morocco's, I was not expecting to learn or try anything new on this occasion.  Boy, was I wrong in the end…

The Mood

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Upon walking into the small restaurant, we were immediately faced with a queue of hungry diners waiting to order at the counter.  While we let our Tunisian friend take care of curating our dinner, the remaining two of us grabbed one of the few empty tables.

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The thirty-seater's interior is clad in wood running vertically and horizontally along the walls, pillars and counter; with the exposed walls decorated using dangling Berber rugs and other artifacts.  A sure sign of good things to come, our party was in all likelihood the only one not fully composed of Tunisian folk.


The Food

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When it comes to street food, North America has a completely different conception than that of the rest of the world.  Whereas in these parts this category is primarily concerned with handheld, easy-to-eat foods on the go, elsewhere it's all about sustenance and affordability.

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While not entirely composed of street food, Abouda's menu does include nourishing staples such as sahfa thoum, kaskrout and lablabi.  For drinks, we helped ourselves with imported Tunisian sodas at first, then finished with a kettle of green mint tea with floating pine nuts, which was interesting but not served hot enough.

Kafteji + Merguez thumbnail (click to enlarge)



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Kafteji + Merguez

A jumbled heap of fried diced veggies mixed in a tomato sauce with harissa gives a spicy/creamy consistency.  Throw in crispy/tender potato slices, a runny fried egg and merguez sausages for a balanced and tasty plate.

Slata Tounsia & Mechouia thumbnail (click to enlarge)



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Slata Tounsia & Mechouia

Now I've seen it all!  A spicy combination of two salads – one chopped and raw, the other grilled and ground – is topped with canned tuna flakes, boiled potatoes and more eggs, reminding me of a salade niçoise.

Tuna Lablabi thumbnail (click to enlarge)



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Tuna Lablabi

More eggs, more tuna and more harissa!  This one requires some DIY before digging in.  Start by crumbling some rustic bread into your bowl, send it over to the kitchen where they top it with a chickpea stew and the ingredients just mentioned, then thoroughly mix the whole thing to coat it with the runny egg.  The end result, a delicious mush with hints of cumin, garlic and lemon would work for breakfast or any other time of day; and would be amazing hangover food, which I appreciated in my tipsy state.

tagged:  MOUTH ON FIRE!

The Verdict

Open since 2019, which can be viewed as brief or eternal in the restaurant world, Abouda has clearly struck a chord with the local Tunisian diaspora.  Myself I was pleasantly surprised to learn the country’s cuisine had nothing to do with that of the rest of the Arab world.

Their use of tuna, rustic bread, eggs, eggs and more eggs sets them apart from my register.  This unique assemblage of everything-in-a-plate, warm spices, citrusy flavours and heat make it the perfect rendition of street food.  I’ll take this stuff over a hot dog any day!

If you go, make sure to show up early; this kitchen closes at 8 p.m.

tagged:  SOLID

Price per person:  $14.49


6349 Rue Saint-Hubert
H2S 2L9

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Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink.  We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.

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