Delicious and versatile is just one way to describe the cuisine of Canada. Made from a melting pot of cultures using a range of ingredients, there is an unlimited amount of creativity when it comes to food in Canada. This post lists 10 foods Canada is known for and just a few reasons why you should try them on your next trip to Canada.
10 Foods Canada is known for:
Poutine, a dish whose origins can be traced back to the 1950’s in Quebec, tops the list of popular foods in Canada. It has just a few ingredients and is a comfort food for many! It is fries topped with melting cheese curds, and a savory beef gravy. Garnishings include pork, bacon and smoked meat but more often than not, gravy and melted cheese curds are the way to go! It truly promises heaven to one’s mouth. A sheer delight for the non-vegetarians, those who have had it, swear by it. This dish is celebrated in Canada throughout the year. You will find Poutine being served, almost everywhere, be it in the food trucks, in upscale restaurants, or in the café next door. The perfect blend of crispiness and richness of taste makes it an all time favourite.
One of the oldest foods in Canada, bannock was once, one of the main components in the diets of Canada’s Indigenous people. Traditionally, bannock’s recipe consisted of flour, water and lard. But with time, the ingredients and cooking techniques have changed a little. It can be cooked, baked or fried. The final result is a disc of denseness and fluffiness.
This saucer-shaped snack is still a mainstay in Indigenous households. Bannock is not found in typical bakeries but many indigenous eateries will have it on the menu!
Packed with the country’s essence from the 1900s, a butter tart is a traditional Canadian sweet treat. Every home kitchen in Canada holds this recipe dear, from generation to generation, filling all the goodness in these cup-shaped wonders. This dessert is made from simple ingredients consisting of eggs, butter and sugar. It has a buttery center. Whether to include raisins or nuts has always been a matter of taste for the lovers of butter tart. It is more a home cooked dessert and a popular Canadian Christmas food, so if you see it on the menu in a restaurant, give it a try!
Widely cherished around the globe, Canadian lobster has made its name for being the ultimate delicacy of Canada. However, his succulent lobster was in the past, consumed by prisoners and servants as it was considered a cheap food source. Now a luxury and an expensive purchase, nothing can beat lobster meat served on a grilled bun. Boiled or steamed in marine water, lobsters are served with butter and dipped in mayonnaise over a crusty hot-dog style bun. The shores of Canada come out alive because of this seasoned meat, that is equally enjoyed by the tourists throughout maritime provinces. Salt and lemon juice gives these rolls a satisfying filling, making them definitely one of Canada’s foods to try, especially for visitors to Nova Scotia.
Montreal Smoked Meat
Just the perfect thing to try while in Montreal is the Montreal smoked meat. Unlike the other popular foods in Canada this one is a bit towards the spicier side. Curing the beef with spices, a week before smoking, it is briskly salted to perfection and steamed for an appetizing smoky taste. The only way to live this heaven is through trying it yourself. Montreal meat takes salads, tacos, poutine, and other appetizers beyond the ordinary by garnishing them to perfection. The most popular way to enjoy this smoked meat is in a sandwich topped with yellow mustard and rye bread. The pepper, coriander, garlic, and mustard seeds garnish enhance the smokiness in texture. Montreal’s smoked meat sandwich stands out in the sandwich category.
Saskatoon Berry Pie
The Canadian city of Saskatoon got its name from Saskatoon berries. They are similar to blueberries, but a bit drier and earthier in flavour. However, it is the Saskatoon Berry pie we talking about here. This delicious pie’s taste can be best described as an intricate blend of sweetness and almond flavour. The filling is cooked in advance, allowing the berries to melt into a rich and soft stuffing. The fruity and nutty flavors of the pie added with seasonal ingredients make it an ideal light dessert to have on any warm summer day. However, if it is one of your cheat days, have it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or extra whipped cream. Saskatoon berry pie is served in many Saskatchewan and Alberta’s confectioneries and pastry shops as a signature dessert. Definitely, a must-try if you are visiting Saskatchewan.
Gooey and crispy, that’s exactly the texture of Beavertails which originated in Ottawa in the 1980s. It is not a traditional food of Canada but still holds a prominent place in the popular foods of Canada or things you can only get in Canada! Their light airy dough fried to golden brown, coated in cinnamon and sugar is always a delight to have. There are plenty of varieties and combinations for you to truly enjoy this sweet that can make anyone with a doughnut tooth fall in love with beavertails.
Think Canada, think Maple leaf. Canada’s flag has a bright red maple leaf right in the centre. If one thinks of Canadian foods or ingredients and has a decent knowledge of Canadian food, maple syrup might just be the first name which comes to one’s mind. Canada dominates the production of this all time favourite syrup. It is widely crafted from the xylem sap of sugar, red or even black maple trees which has considerably high antioxidant content making it a healthy yet tasteful to savour. Truly a versatile ingredient, maple syrup can be used in many dishes and is a popular souvenir to bring back from your travels! It is also commonly consumed by Canadians with pancakes or waffles or as a flavoring for many foods and treats!
Inexplicably a Canadian classic, ketchup chips that were first experimented with back in the ‘70s are still craved just as much by any ruffled chips devotee. Introduced as an experimental flavour by Hostess (now Lays) along with other flavors like grapes and oranges, ketchup chips are a beloved snack whose crumbled flavours cannot be found outside the borders. These tomato-flavoured chips make themselves an integral part of Canadian companies which consistently embrace and improve their addictive recipes.
Last but definitely not the least, making to the list of top 10 foods in Canada is the Nanaimo bars. Cherished over generations, these bars are truly a classic Canadian dessert, especially on the west coast! Its three leveled heavenly look is just as appetizing as the coconut base with custard and chocolate layers on the top give it a crunchy sweet texture. Easily prepared without baking, these bars are also fully customizable to personal tastes, popularising themselves among the cafes and bakeries across Canada.
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!