We’ll tackle this issue once more, since it’s up again in the news. Apparently, a new bagel store opened in NYC this week, and it’s reopened the argument about Montreal vs New York bagels.
Which is better? Why? How are the bagels made, when does the special split in the process occur that makes them different from each other, and why should it matter? Who actually gets upset about this kind of thing? Don’t be fooled; the battle between the Canadians and the US natives is as old as the introduction of bagels to the New World, and doesn’t seem to be drawing to an end any time soon.
Let’s look at the facts. New Yorker bagels are best. Hands down. Game over.
But don’t take my word for it – let’s dissect the bagel question completely, once and for all, and answer the questions you have about this ongoing feud!
First, the New Yorker bagel. It’s crispy and brown on the outside, chewy and full-flavored on the inside. Montreal bagels share the same round shape with a hole in the middle, but are denser, smaller in circumference, and much sweeter to the taste.
Both bagels are boiled lightly before baking in a hot oven for the crisp crust and doughy inside that is beloved by bagel eaters everywhere – but there’s a few important differences.
First, the sweetness factor. New Yorkers proudly point out that their bagels don’t have to be sweetened to be palatable, while Montreal fans claim the bit of honey added to the boiling water is what created the spectacular brown crust and classic sweet taste when you bite into the Canadian version.
Next, the water itself. Bagels in New York have a special texture and flavor which cannot be quite duplicated anywhere else in the world, and many claim the Big Apple’s water supply is the thank for this uniqueness.
The bagels are baked after boiling in a wood fired oven if possible, to get that recognizable brown crust. After that, they are served up to the customer – in different ways, depending what side of the border you are on.
Montreal bagels are generally smaller in circumference, and have a larger hole – more a circle of thick rope that is best for dipping and can be quickly scarfed down. New Yorker bagels are larger, have a smaller hole, and can be sliced in half, lending themselves to the notion of spreads and sandwich making much more readily.
Each kind of bagel lover has their own strong opinions. Many US based residents find Montreal bagels far too sweet, say they go stale quickly and object to the fact that you can’t get one with cream cheese and lox for love or money.
Canadians retort that a bagel should be snack-sized, not a whole meal, and that the beauty of their favorite food is that it requires no additions and can be munched freshly bought with no need for a topping.
When it comes to passion, however, our own New Yorker bagel lovers definitely come out on top. A bagel, cream cheese and lox isn’t just a food choice for some, it’s a food need – the holy trinity of breakfast foods.
While the battle rages on, we obviously have bias – and claim the crown of best bagel of all no matter what our neighbors north of the order might say. After all, this is New York – so a New York bagel must win the day!