Both Montreal and New York are known for having delicious bagels. The two cities offer vastly different takes on the circular baked good, but we know that one is much tastier than the other. Unsurprisingly, it's Montreal that has the superior bagel, and we're here to explain it to you. Here are 10 reasons why Montreal bagels are better than New York bagels.
Photo Cred - Eugene Kim
1. The Perfect Portion
Whereas New York bagels are intimidatingly large, Montreal bagels are the Baby Bear of baked goods: just the right size. It’ll save you room for all of the other amazing food Montreal has to offer. Of course, if you’re hungry, there’s nothing stopping you from chowing down on a few in one sitting.
The condensed size of Montreal’s bagels allows for a crispiness throughout them which New York bagels do not have. Eating a New York bagel means putting up with an annoying excess of fluffiness to get to the crispiness you’re looking for, but Montreal bagels cut out the bullshit and leave you with the best part. The texture goes perfectly with their flavour, which we'll soon discuss in greater depth.
3. Less Salt
New York bagels are filled with salt in their dough, and they often have it sprinkled on top. Montreal bagels have minimal salt, or none at all. As a result, the dough and seeds are left to speak for themselves, and they do a delicious job of it. If you’re in a salty mood, you can add as much sodium as you like, but Montreal bagels leave the choice up to you.
4. That Little Bit of Sweetness
What Montreal bagels lack in salt, they more than make up for in sweet goodness. They have honey in the dough, which gives them a light hints of sweetness that is perfect for your bagel experience. Sure, New Yorkers have cinnamon raisin bagels, but we all know that their oppressively sugary flavour has nothing on the delicate honey taste found in a Montreal bagel.
5. Egg in the Dough
Some New York bakeries do offer a special egg bagel, but Montreal bagel stores give you that eggy taste you crave in all of their standard offerings. The use of eggs also contributes to their delicious texture, which we’ll talk more about in just a bit.
6. The Wood-Fired Advantage
Unlike New York bagels, which can be baked in any old oven, true Montreal bagels are prepared exclusively in wood-fired ovens. The extreme temperatures possible from a wood oven allow Montreal’s bakers to hold their bagels to a standard of perfection which cannot be found in New York bakeries.
7. They Focus on What They Do Best
You can find Montreal bagels in a variety of flavours if you look hard enough, but poppy and sesame dominate the market. By contrast, New York bagels are readily available in too many styles to list here, but they suffer for it with a lack of uniformity in their quality. Montreal’s bakers narrow their range, and they excel in the areas where they emphasize their talents.
8. Perfect for Sandwiches
Montreal bagels are delicious on their own, but they’re equally yummy as part of a sandwich, as numerous cafés around Montreal have proved. There are many examples of great Montreal bagel sandwiches, but some of our favourites are Plume’s Plume Bagel, which comes with a mouthwatering combination of cream cheese, proscuitto, tomato, and basil, and Hinnawi's L’Argentina, which is filled with juicy steak, ham, mozzarella, and more. Of course, if you’re feeling creative, you can easily dream up your own delicious Montreal bagel sandwich.
9. Available All The Time
Fairmount Bagels (recently named Montreal’s Best Bagel by our readers) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can get your bagel fix whenever you want. Whether you’re drunk, high, or just craving a late-night carb injection, Fairmount is here for you. There are probably some New York bagel stores that are also open 24 hours, but it’s nice to have the gold standard of our favourite bagel available to us whenever we want it (which is pretty often, if you couldn’t already tell).
10. New Yorkers Love Them
Obviously, as Montrealers, we’re a little biased as to which city’s bagel is superior. But don’t take our word for it—just ask New Yorkers themselves. When Black Seed Bagels, a bagel store that sells Montreal-style bagels, opened in New York, they sold out on their first day of business. New Yorkers from around the city were sick and tired of eating inferior bagels, and they rushed to get their hands on Montreal’s world-renowned delicacies.
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