Hamilton One Bite at a Time: Paramount Fine Foods
If you follow the Student Success Centre on Instagram (@MacSSC), you might have seen my insta-takeover last Monday. I posted photos and videos on their story during my time at Hamilton: One Bite at a Time (“Hamilton: One Bite” for short).
What’s Hamilton: One Bite at a Time, you ask?
If you know me, you probably know that I’m a huge foodie and I also love exploring Hamilton. Hamilton: One Bite at a Time is a program that appeals to both foodies AND people who want to visit more places, specifically restaurants, in Hamilton. Basically, it’s a program run by International Student Services, which takes you to a different cultural restaurant every month. For the low price of $20, you get to try appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and drinks from a traditional menu. It’s a good way to learn more about different cultures and traditions through food.
Last week, I went to Paramount Fine Foods to try Middle Eastern cuisine. It was a super fun experience and here are some reasons why you should come to the next Hamilton: One Bite.
- You get so much food!
I could give you a full list of what we ate, but it would probably bore you. In the photo below, which was taken from the SSC Instagram story that day, you can see salad, rice, manakish (the food that looks similar to pizza), and a platter of grilled meat and vegetables… and that was just to name a few things that we ate that day! You definitely get your money’s worth in food, and some people even took some food home with them.
- It’s a great if you want to try food from a certain culture but you don’t know where to start.
I find that when I try food from a culture that I’ve never tried before, I usually won’t know what to order or I’ll want to try everything on the menu! In this program, there is already a pre-selected menu and you will be able to try a little bit of everything.
As a Canadian-born Chinese person brought up in Richmond Hill, I had mostly just been exposed to Asian and North American foods. When I thought about Middle Eastern food, the first thing that would come to my mind was shawarma and falafel and Chicken on the Rocks from Osmow’s. Last week, I had the opportunity to try Middle Eastern food that I normally would not have known about, such a manakish, Arabic coffee, and baklava, which were all delicious. Sometimes it blows my mind just thinking about how much food is out there that I haven’t tried yet, or that I don’t even know about!
- You get to hear a cute success story from restaurant owners or staff.
In addition to getting a good meal, a restaurant owner or staff, who is usually an immigrant, shares their story of how they immigrated to Canada and their struggles, and how they got into starting up a restaurant.
In the case of Paramount, the CEO immigrated to Canada in the early 2000s, and turned Paramount Fine Foods from a struggling restaurant in Mississauga to an international franchise. This Hamilton location was their sixth location ever.
It’s pretty encouraging to hear these stories, especially if you are striving to be an entrepreneur, an international student thinking about immigrating to Canada, or if you have similar experiences as an immigrant yourself!
CEO of Paramount Fine Foods (Credit – http://canadianimmigrant.ca/immigrant-stories/entrepreneur-immigrants/mohamad-fakih-is-building-a-middle-eastern-restaurant-empire-in-canada)
- You get to meet lots of other fellow student foodies.
Do you ever just want to try all the restaurants in Hamilton, but have no one to go with? If you are looking to meet people who are down to go on food adventures or any adventures, Hamilton: One Bite is a good place to meet them! You get to meet lots of different students, who all share a common interest of trying new foods.
I don’t know what it is about food, but it has a way of bringing people together. After sharing a meal with anyone, they can go from stranger to friend.
A lot of these students also tend to be international or exchange students, so not only will you get to try foods from a new culture, you will also get to learn about their traditions or customs through conversations—and share some Canadian quirks and customs (like saying “sorry” all the time or why our milk comes in bags). McMaster is so diverse and it’s cool to see students sharing their experiences and bits of their culture with each other.
All in all, my first Hamilton: One Bite at a Time experience was amazing. I got to try new things, meet new people, and fill up an empty stomach for only $20!
If you’re interested, you can sign up on OSCARplus under the SSC Events calendar. Next month, we will be going to Valentino’s for Italian food, so hopefully I’ll see you there!