The Great White North, often known as Canada, has some beautiful lakes and mountain ranges, but did you know they also offer some tasty foods? Given that Canada is the world’s second-largest nation, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Canada, a young country, is little over 150 years old. It has a significant immigrant population, which allows for a diverse range of ethnicities, cuisines, and tastes. A handful of these recipes, particularly number 15, exhibit cultural fusion. Canada’s cuisine landscape is as varied as its inhabitants.
You may not have thought of Canada as a gastronomic destination, but we’re here to alter your mind. These are some typical Canadian meals (and one drink) that you should absolutely try for yourself to help you navigate Canadian cuisine. You may be surprised to find that number three is Canadian! Its name might lead you to believe differently.
Visiting other parts of Canada? See our other guides:
- 13 Best Things To Do On Salt Spring Island BC
- 10 Best Mont Tremblant Restaurants
- 7 Best Winnipeg Restaurants
- 12 Best Toronto Brunches
- 5 Must-Try Pizza Places In Mont-Tremblant
- 15 Must-Try Vancouver Restaurants
- 7 Must-Try Whistler Restaurants
- The Six Best Steakhouses In Vancouver, BC, Canada
- 1 The Canadian Food Guide: 16 Best Canadian Foods
- 1.1 Poutine
- 1.2 Bars from Nanaimo
- 1.3 Pizza Hawaiiana
- 1.4 The Emperor Caesar
- 1.5 Meat Smoked in Montreal
- 1.6 Sugar Maple Syrup
- 1.7 Chips with Ketchup
- 1.8 Meat from Game
- 1.9 Rolls of Lobster
- 1.10 Tourtire
- 1.11 Tarts au beurre
- 1.12 Bacon from Canada
- 1.13 Timbits
- 1.14 Salmon
- 1.15 The BC Roll
- 1.16 Saskatchewan Berries
- 1.17 Which of these Canadian dishes are you most interested in trying first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Canadian Food Guide: 16 Best Canadian Foods
Poutine is the only obvious place to begin a list of the top Canadian cuisine. It may be considered Canada’s national dish, and it’s simple to understand why. Crispy French fries and gooey cheese topped with thick beef gravy are difficult to resist. When done properly, French fries are crispy on the exterior yet soft on the inside. This texture combination is easier to accomplish with a thick-cut potato.
Although many types of French fries and gravy may be utilized, not just any cheese will do. Poutine is composed entirely with cheese curds. These ooey-gooey bites of delight are made from curdled milk. They have a mellow, almost cheese-like taste. A fresh cheese curd should squeak when you bite into it. The squeak has a scientific explanation, but simply said, the proteins in a cheese curd are so tightly packed that when you bite into one, it rebounds and creates a squeaking sound.
Classic poutine was invented in Quebec in the 1950s. Several variations may now be found all throughout the world. Varieties vary from vegan Butter Chicken to Prime Beef, as seen here at Whistler Mountain’s Steeps Bar & Restaurant. Whatever the variation, poutine must have three ingredients: French fries, cheese curds, and gravy.
Bars from Nanaimo
Nanaimo Bars is a famous dessert bar from a tiny community on Vancouver Island, BC. The Nanaimo Bar became a national symbol when it was included as a traditional Canadian dessert during the Expo 86 World Fair.
The classic version has three layers: a chocolate, nut, and coconut crumb foundation, a creamy custard filling, and a thick chocolate topping. These luscious dessert bars need no baking, making them a simple but tasty treat.
Nanaimo Bars, like anything else popular, come in a range of flavors, including those with green minty fillings, peanut butter toppings, and a variety of nuts. These delectable dessert bars are guaranteed to satisfy no matter how you slice them.
Hawaiian pizza, contrary to popular belief, was really originated in Canada. A restaurant owner called Sam Panopoulos invented pineapple on pizza in the little town of Chatham, Ontario. He called it Hawaiian Pizza because of the brand of canned pineapple he used.
Little did he realize at the time, but he invented one of the most contentious dishes. The usage of pineapple on pizza is a hotly discussed topic in Canada. Gordon Ramsay has declared unequivocally that pineapple does not belong on pizza, whereas The Rock, Dwane Johnson, is a fan. Notwithstanding the debate, Canadians like Hawaiian pizza.
A conventional Hawaiian pizza has a tomato sauce base and is topped with canned pineapple, ham or bacon, or both. Then it’s topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. There are other varieties available at pizzerias across the globe, but the basic Hawaiian remains a Canadian favorite. They keep going back for more because of the blend of sweet, salty, and acidic flavors.
The Emperor Caesar
The Caesar, the sole drink on this list of Canadian dishes, deserves to be included. After all, it has its own national holiday every May. Well, Canadians do celebrate it with zeal.
The Caesar was invented in the late 1960s in Calgary, Alberta, and has now become a national beverage. The Brunch Caesar is a frequent Sunday special at restaurants and pubs around the nation. Caesars has replaced Mimosas as the brunch beverage of choice for individuals who do not like Mimosas.
A Caesar is similar to a Bloody Mary, except instead of tomato juice, it is mixed with Clamato juice. Clamato is a flavorful and distinct combination of tomato and clam liquids. Don’t be put off by the clam juice; it’s really rather tasty.
The original Caesar is made with vodka, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, and horseradish in a celery salt-rimmed glass topped with a celery stick. Caesars are served at bars and restaurants around the country. Pickled asparagus, olives, or beans are often used in lieu of the celery stalk. You could receive all three, along with a stick of pepperoni or a piece of bacon if you’re fortunate. There are other ones created using gin or tequila instead of vodka.
At certain restaurants, a Caesar is served on top of your meal. On top of its Caesars, the iconic Score on Davie Street in Vancouver provides everything from onion rings to grilled cheese to a complete roasted chicken.
Meat Smoked in Montreal
Schwartz’s smoked meat is synonymous with Montreal and is the crème de la crème of smoked meat. Schwartz’s debuted in 1928, making it Canada’s oldest deli. They continue to do things the same way they did back then. They still prepare their own smoked meat in-house and have used the same recipe since they first debuted.
Their Montreal-style smoked meat is made from beef brisket and is salted and cured, but it’s the exquisite spices that make it stand out. Schwartzs starts creating their smoked meat by marinating raw brisket for ten to twelve days in their own special combination of spices. Many believe that their protracted healing is what distinguishes them.
Following a ten-day minimum curing time, they smoke the brisket for eight to nine hours before steaming it for three more. The smoked meat is then hand-sliced and served on rye toast with mustard and a pickle on the side. Shwartzs offers over 1,000 sandwiches every day and is a must-try on any trip to Montreal.
Sugar Maple Syrup
We’re not talking about the syrupy stuff you find in grocery store aisles here; we’re talking about genuine Canadian maple syrup. Pure maple syrup, tapped directly from the source, has various health advantages. It includes antioxidants as well as vitamins B1 and B2, as well as zinc, calcium, and magnesium. You may feel fine about sprinkling it all over your breakfast.
Quebec is the world’s biggest maple syrup producer. It is one of Canada’s top exports, and we can understand why given the world’s love of pancakes. Without a hefty amount of genuine maple syrup, chicken and waffles simply aren’t the same. Pancakes are neither.
You’ll discover maple-flavored goods such as cookies, cakes, and coffees, in addition to breakfast meals. Using maple syrup as a sweetener is healthier than other sugary flavorings, and it tastes much superior than store-bought pancake syrup. You’re missing out if you haven’t tried it yet. While you’re in the Great White North, be sure to ask for authentic Canadian maple syrup.
Chips with Ketchup
Yep, you read it correctly. Potato chips with ketchup flavoring. Everyone like potato chips, but Canadians seem to be the only ones who enjoy ketchup chips. They adore them. Lays brand Ketchup Chips, often regarded as the finest, are exclusively available in Canada. Something about the sweet and tart taste keeps people returning for more.
French fries dipped in ketchup are a global cult favorite, so it should come as no surprise that ketchup-flavored chips are popular, although they are mostly a Canadian phenomenon. Maybe it’s the patriotic red hue, or perhaps the rest of the world is missing something. Give them a try the next time you’re in Canada and decide for yourself.
Meat from Game
Game meats such as elk, bison, and venison are popular in certain regions of the country but not widely available. While game meat is accessible in the great majority of Canada, it is farmed rather than wild. While the selling of wild animal meat is mainly illegal in Canada, farmers are filling the hole. The types of game meat available will differ based on the province you visit.
The ever-popular burger is one of the most common meals utilizing game meat. Lamb burgers are a popular option at most Irish pubs throughout the nation, while Elk burgers can be found almost everywhere in Alberta. Another favorite game meat is wild boar. It is often seen in pasta recipes.
Think again if you believe you have to eat fish or take fish oil pills to acquire your omegas. Because of its ideal Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio, game meat, such as venison, is one of the best sources of healthy fats. Moreover, it has no negative impact on our waters.
Rolls of Lobster
Lobster Rolls are a simple but tasty dinner that originated on Canada’s east coast, notably in the Maritime Provinces. The lobster is often cooked or steamed before being served with butter and mayonnaise on a crusty bun.
The greatest Lobster Rolls begin with freshly caught lobster that has been cooked and chopped into substantial pieces. While mayonnaise is used as a binding agent, it is used in moderation so that the tastes do not overpower the delicate lobster flesh. Traditionally, the only additional ingredient is finely chopped celery or chives, with a spritz of fresh lemon juice on top.
Lobster Rolls are maybe the only other sandwich offered on a hot dog bun. You now know what to make to fill the remaining six hot dog buns the next time you have to purchase two packages of eight hot dog buns to go with your package of ten hot dog weiners. You’ll be able to thank us afterwards.
Tourtire, a seasonal French-Canadian delicacy, is a spicy meat pie encased in a flaky pastry shell. It is traditionally eaten between Christmas and New Year’s and is stuffed with meat, spices, and vegetables.
The original form is made with pork, although it is also available with beef, veal, or different game meats. Around the holidays, eateries prepare this meaty meal. It is not widely available outside of Quebec, although it is often available in the frozen department of most grocery shops.
Tarts au beurre
The ooey-gooey butter tart, the second dessert on our list, is a delicious delight. Although its precise origins are unknown, it was prevalent in pioneer Canadian cookery and remains a distinctively Canadian pastry.
Butter tarts, which are similar to pecan pie but with a runnier filling and no cornstarch, are never cooked as a pie; they are always made as a tart. A flaky pastry crust forms the foundation of a butter tart. After that, they are filled with butter, sugar, and eggs. A butter tart has no pastry topping.
Raisins and nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, may also be added to the filling, depending on who makes them. Raisins in butter tarts are almost as contentious as pineapple on pizza. Since these are individual tarts, it is simple to include raisins in some and leave them out of others.
Bacon from Canada
Canadian bacon, as the name suggests, is, well, Canadian. It’s just back bacon with a new name. Back bacon is created from the pork loin from the pig’s back and is significantly slimmer than bacon made from pork belly.
Canadian bacon is cured, smoked, and cooked before being sliced into circles. In both look and flavor, it resembles ham more than bacon. Don’t let us frighten you away from having breakfast in Canada; they also offer standard pieces of wonderful hog belly bacon. If you order Eggs Benedict, you could get Canadian Bacon on the Benny, hash potatoes, and pieces of bacon on the side. That’s what we call a win-win situation.
In Canada, it is simply known as back bacon or peameal bacon, rather than Canadian bacon. Another fascinating fact? It was also not invented there. It was named for the fact that it was brought to Toronto from New York. In any case, it’s a uniquely Canadian dish.
These tasty doughnuts originate from the Tim Hortons fast-food business and are not something you can cook at home. Although it may seem unusual to put fast food on a list of the top Canadian meals, you simply cannot have a Canadian cuisine article without include Timbits.
Timbits are little, round doughnuts that are glazed or dusted with powdered sugar and filled with fruit flavorings or custard. They are often served with a Double Double, which is a coffee with two creams and two sugars. When a coworker arrives with a box of Timbits to share, it’s a terrific day at the office.
The aforementioned hockey player founded the coffee shop chain Tim Hortons, which is as popular in Canada as Starbucks is in the United States. There are currently about 3,500 sites around the nation.
When Timbits first appeared, the Internet was in a frenzy about what to name them: doughnut holes, Munchkins, or Timbits. At the end of the day, they’re all a delicious pleasure. Just don’t call them Munchkins in Canada. In Canada, there are no Dunkin Donuts stores.
While salmon only has one slot on our list, there are various ways to prepare it in Canada. Salmon on a cedar plank is a popular main course in restaurants, while strips of smoked salmon and jerky are popular snacks. Smoked salmon is also great on a bagel with cream cheese and capers.
If you’ve ever flown through a Canadian airport, you’ve undoubtedly seen a sizable salmon area. There, you can get anything from smoked salmon to salmon pat to cedar boards to cook your salmon on.
Combine numbers 6 and 13 on this list for a really Canadian experience: maple salmon. It’s a wonderfully delectable and sweet combo. Smoked salmon comes in a variety of tastes, including maple, and is often available in grocery store deli areas.
The BC Roll
As previously said, seafood is quite popular in Canada. Sushi is also popular. This makes perfect sense for a country that is almost encircled by water. Although Canada may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about sushi restaurants, it should be. After all, one of their provinces is named after their own roll.
A BC roll is a Maki-zushi type sushi roll made with sushi rice, grilled salmon (or grilled salmon skin), and cucumbers. The term BC was coined in 1974 in Vancouver by a Japanese chef called Hidekazu Tojo. This province on the west coast is well-known for its wild Pacific salmon.
Although meals are sometimes named after locations (see above for an example), this is an exception. Saskatoon was called after the berries rather than the other way around.
Saskatoon berries are most often consumed in the form of a pie. Of course, a piece of Saskatoon berry pie a la mode is the best way to enjoy these berries. Saskatoon derives its name from Cree, an Indigenous language spoken in regions of Canada.
Saskatoon berries are quite similar to blueberries; nevertheless, they are more closely linked to the apple family. Saskatoons are indigenous to North America, but not just in Saskatoon. They may be found in the wild from Alaska to Maine.
That concludes the list of the best sixteen Canadian dishes. Have you tried any of these Canadian dishes? And which ones pique your interest the most?
If I could make the perfect Canadian supper, I would mix a couple of them. A Hawaiian Pizza washed down with a Caesar, followed by a piece of warm Saskatoon Pie, would be the ideal meal. And I wouldn’t mind if the bill came with a mini-Nanaimo Bar.
Although some of these are not available outside of the nation, many may be created at home. Why not make some of these Canadian dishes at home? Cooking gastronomic delicacies from various countries is an excellent way to travel virtually. So raise a glass (a Caesar) to that!