A FOOD BLOG­GER OPENS HER BAG

Air Canada enRoute - - LEADERS OF THE PACK / C’EST DANS LE SAC - BY / PAR CAITLIN STALL-PAQUET PHO­TOS BY / PAR REYNARD LI

Eden Ha­gos has an in­sa­tiable ap­petite — for food, yes, but also for ex­plor­ing the culi­nary world through a black lens. She’s the founder of Black Foodie, a web­site she launched in 2015, com­bin­ing her pas­sion for food with her so­ci­ol­ogy back­ground. When she’s not re­view­ing the lat­est Caribbean restau­rant or shar­ing soul food recipes, she’s or­ga­niz­ing events in Toronto, like the Jollof Wars, a West African rice dish com­pe­ti­tion. We caught up with her be­fore a trip to Mon­treal for the A Taste of the Caribbean fes­ti­val.

SCRUNCH, ROLL, FOLD OR STUFF?

I’m a stuffer with a sys­tem: I pack shoes and clothes on op­po­site sides of my carry-on and keep my lap­top ac­ces­si­ble.

WHERE DOES YOUR PAS­SION FOR FOOD COME FROM?

? My mother’s fam­ily owned a spice mar­ket in Eritrea, and my fa­ther’s side ran a café. When they moved to Canada, my par­ents opened an Ethiopian restau­rant in Wind­sor, On­tario. I grew up around African food, like misir wot, a spicy mix of lentils and rice.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE AFRICAN AND CARIBBEAN RESTAU­RANTS?

In Toronto, I go to Si­mone’s on the Dan­forth for Ja­maican brown stew chicken, and Mofer Cof­fee for the best Ethiopian cup – cof­fee is a big deal to the cul­ture. Ak­waba in Mon­treal mixes Greek and West African styles, a combo I’ve never seen any­where else. The Ivory Coast-born own­ers moved to Greece be­fore com­ing to Canada, so they serve dishes like mous­saka made with sweet potato and man­ioc.

YOU’RE VO­CAL ABOUT LOV­ING PLANTAIN. WHAT’S SO SPE­CIAL ABOUT THE FRUIT?

I’ve tried it so many dif­fer­ent ways since start­ing Black Foodie. Nige­ri­ans chop it up into small pieces and fry it, Gam­bians add pep­per and gin­ger, and Haitians fry it twice so it’s ex­tra-crispy. Be­ing East African, I hadn’t tried it un­til mov­ing to Toronto, and then I was hooked.

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