Toronto – The Best City In the World To Eat!
Why Toronto is the greatest city in the world for the adventurous foodie
There is so much to love about Toronto but one attribute that no one will dispute is that Toronto’s cultural and ethnic diversity is second to none. Having been born in Winnipeg (a city in central Canada) before moving to Toronto with my family when I was 9 years old, my upbringing was anything but normal. My family moved around a lot where I didn’t go to the same school two years in a row till I was in the 5th grade. Growing up in Toronto, it is easy to take for granted how fortunate I was to be raised in a city where the world calls “home”. I have friends from all corners of the earth and with it, I was exposed to an amazing array of culture, customs and foods. Each neighbourhood I’ve lived in had its unique flare and for someone who has a curious nature coupled with an adventurous spirit, tasting foods from around the world was second nature for me.
I’m not sure what gave me this appetite for adventure and discovery but whatever the reason, I’ve been very fortunate to have realized life experiences that most could only dream of. My free and adventurous spirit has led me on remarkable encounters around the world where I have had the great fortune of visiting my 50th country in the summer of 2016 – Ethiopia. Even with my insatiable appetite to travel, there really is no better place to call home for a globetrotter like me than Toronto.
“Never in history could you taste the world with just a bus pass”
When the famed author and economist, Tyler Cowen writes: “I concluded Scarborough (a region of Toronto) is the best ethnic food suburb I have seen in my life, ever, and by an order of magnitude. I hope you all have a chance to visit Scarborough, Ontario”, you know that our city is something special.
Even Condé Naste in 2016 ranked Toronto #11 for the “Best Food Cities in the World” which puts it ahead of notable cities like London, Sydney and just behind Tokyo. Having been to 6 of the top 10 cities on this list, I don’t think it will take long that the world notices that Toronto is a premier destination for food.
Then there’s my foodie hero, Anthony Bourdain… When asked about Toronto he said: “It is a city of surprises. The fact that over 50 per cent of the residents of Toronto are not from Canada, that is always a good thing, creatively, and for food especially. That is easily a city’s biggest strength and it is Toronto’s unique strength.”
As a local who was brought up in Toronto, it is very easy to miss how awesome the diversity of culinary traditions that can be found here. Culturally relevant and authentic foods from pretty much every country on the planet can be found here and I am pretty sure that there is no other city that could make that claim. I don’t care to be too political but there is agreement that the world has over 190 countries and independent territories and I believe that Toronto has residents that come from or are children of folks who came from each of the world’s countries. The reason I can confidently say that is because a photographer, Colin Boyd Shafer achieved what many thought was unlikely: a photo of a Toronto resident who was born in each country from around the world. Click here to watch his TedxToronto Talk about his experience.
There is no doubt in my mind that Toronto is the most culturally diverse city in the world but what makes this city really special is how blended the city has become. Even though there were food tours well established in the unique neighbourhood of Kensington Market, there was something special there that I felt needed to be celebrated and promoted. The fact that we can host a walking food tour in one neighbourhood where guests can taste foods from 6 countries representing 5 continents is truly remarkable. Outside of your generic “food courts” found around the world, there are just very few cities in the world where this would even be a possibility but on our food tour, you can taste foods made from the hands of those who brought their flavours with them when they came to Canada.
My Mission: To Taste the World in Just One City
Like the photographer, Colin Boyd Shafer, I am going to attempt to share a meal with a person from every country in the world and to find them all in Toronto. Along this journey, I will share about my past food adventures from around the world and the beautiful encounters I’ve experienced along the way.
My hope is that I can encourage people of all walks to reach out and expand their pallet. Not to just look and chase the next food trend. rather, to take the time to step into the shoes of another and to get a glimpse to what it would be like to be a child from another country and to indulge in the foods that they our neighbours grew up eating.
Thank you for coming along and I do hope you enjoy the journey. I hope that this blog will inspire you to explore the city of Toronto and more importantly, find continual reasons to connect with people over food.
Are you up for a food adventure?
Chopsticks+Forks is a Food Experience Company that is dedicated to showcase the great ethnic and cultural diversity of Toronto through food. We believe that food is the most accessible window to get a glimpse into the soul of a country or culture and to connect with people.