Sri Lanka To Toronto - Canada's Brisket Whisperer
Saveur|Fall 2019

A roman catholic cook from Sri Lanka has found his unique culinary calling: making Jewish-Deli-Style smoked meat in a Toronto suburb’s Chinatown.

Lara Rabinovitch

On the corner of an otherwise indistinguishable big-box strip mall in Markham, a suburb of Toronto, you’ll see signs for a Jewish delicatessen. It’s a predominantly Chinese neighborhood, but Sumith Fernando, a Roman Catholic Sri Lankan immigrant, saw an opportunity: The rent was low, and he knew through a previous deli job that the Chinese shared a penchant for fatty cuts of smoked meat. Called Sumilicious, his deli, which is also halal to appeal to the area’s Muslim population, primarily serves Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches, for which he laboriously cures and wood-smokes the brisket himself. Why? To this improbable deli man, the answer is obvious: “I love this food.”

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