I was invited out to the International Marketplace hosted by the Immigrant Women's Centre today and to be honest, I went because: 1. I came to this country as an immigrant and 2. I'm clearly a women. So, gotta represent for my peeps.
I didn't really think much of it but when I walked in I thought, "holy #$%^ this place is adorable!". It's pretty intimate aka small but they fit just enough things in there to keep your eyes, wallet and stomach satisfied.
The marketplace is free but, to take part in the "street food" aspect you buy a "passport" for $10. This allows you four samples, dessert and a coffee. That's a pretty sweet deal to be honest. Consider it a $10 lunch - bring a date and impress them to bits.
Today, the countries showcased were Bosnia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Chile, Iraq, Egypt, Mexico and Lebanon. The best part about it is - it's all hand made mom and pop recipes. The lovely ladies dishing out the food basically chose dishes from countries they were all from. So it was like being invited to a potluck at the United Nations.
The falafel's from Egypt were the best I've ever had. That's right - I said it! I had a falafel and I fricken enjoyed it. Everyone knows I hate, hate, hate chickpeas. But these seemed to be a hot commodity so, I had to see what all the fuss was about. They were moist and very well seasoned.
I also had the Cambodian pork & shrimp dumping as well as a fava bean dish from Lebanon. I didn't quite catch the name of it but it was very simple and tasty. She literally whipped it up right in front of me. A few spoonfuls of boiled (or baked?) beans, doused with lemon juice, fresh garlic, cumin, paprika and fresh parsley. This was the first time I ever had fava beans (cause they always remind me of Silence of the Lambs) I don't know if I would ever make it for myself at home but if a sweet lady in a pink apron made it for me, I'd gobble it up.
Outside of the food they also had some fantastic hand crafted goods for you to purchase. I go to Art Crawl every once in a while and sometimes you see the same vendors over and over but these vendors were all pretty new to me.
These watches were made with recycled wood and leather and these hats, which I'm sure you've seen all over pinterest and instagram, were selling for $15 - word up, that is the cheapest I've seen them anywhere!
Heads up for last minute Christmas Shoppers - it's definitely worth stopping by, even if it's just for the $10 lunch. They were also selling hot apple cider and hot chocolate for $1.25 - yeah, Starbucks can kiss my butt, I had a lovely apple cider for under two bucks!
Countries featured on Saturday will be: Iraq, Egypt, Mexico, Afghanistan, Kenya, India & Poland
*The Immigrant Women's Centre works towards social, economic, & civic participation for immigrant & refugee women and their families in Hamilton, On. I was invited to the marketplace as their guest and my passport was complimentary. The opinions expressed are my own.