Local Eats, Global Taste

By Julián C. Chávez

Julián is a Market volunteer with a background as a producer and educator on organic foods in Colombia. Click Here to see his work.

At the Market, we are fortunate to have many vendors who make food from around the world local to the Ottawa community. The popularity of foods such as miso and falafel is a testament to the enduring appeal of these cultural staples. Miso, a Japanese seasoning made from soybeans and koji, and falafel, a Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas, are two examples of these flavorful foods.

Miso is not just a seasoning, but a deeply rooted tradition in Japan. It is a staple in Japanese cuisine, used in a variety of dishes such as miso soup, marinades, dressings, and sauces. Kamosu Miso, a local business specializing in traditional Japanese miso, recognizes the importance of preserving this heritage by using organic and whole grain ingredients and fermenting their miso for 1 to 3 years. By following these traditional methods, Kamosu Miso offers customers a chance to taste the authentic flavor of Japan and appreciate the rich history associated with the ingredient.

They play a vital role in embracing cultural customs and practices, not just through their products, but also through their values and ethos. This is in keeping with the Japanese concept of mottainai, which means “waste not, want not.” No to mention that their products also have rich flavors and great health benefits!

The Falafel Guys offers the unique flavors of Syrian street food and showcases the culinary expertise of Syrian refugee chef Ahmad Altaouil. Their commitment to using fresh ingredients and preparing their flatbread on-site using a traditional kara and Saj oven is a testament to the importance of preserving cultural practices and techniques.

Moreover, The Falafel Guys’ menu includes plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, which aligns with the growing demand for healthy and sustainable food choices. They are an example of how businesses can adapt to changing trends and customer preferences while still staying true to their roots. By celebrating cultural diversity and offering delicious, healthy food options, local businesses like The Falafel Guys can not only provide a unique experience for their customers but also contribute to the vibrant fabric of their communities.

What will you try next?