Canadian cuisine is often seen as being hard to identify. Partly because Canada is such a multicultural country and partly because of Canada’s historical French, British, and First Nations history and background. The truth is that Canada’s cuisine is just as equally diverse as the culture and many Canadian dishes actually borrow from other countries and cultures. There are however some dishes that are distinctly Canadian and here is a short list of some of them that you can try when you come here! Warning! You might get a little hungry after reading this list:
Poutine is a dish that originated in the French Canadian province of Quebec and is made with French fries, gravy and curd cheese. It’s considered to be a fast food dish and can be found in almost any dinner and most restaurants in Canada. In fact many international restaurants that come to Canada will add Poutine to their menus including the American fast food restaurant Burger King. Now days Poutine has gotten a bit of an upgrade and some restaurants will sell many different types of Poutines exclusively with additions such as chicken, mushrooms, or Montreal-style smoked meat. Some restaurants have even started selling “upscale” (fancy) Poutines with some containg foie gras, caviar, or truffle.
2) Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup was first collected from maple trees by the First Nations people of Canada, but the practice was adopted by European settlers to the region who helped create what we now think of as “traditional” maple syrup. While Maple Syrup is not solely a Canadian invention Canadian Maple Syrup is probably the most famous of all Maple Syrups with Canada being the world’s largest exporter of it, and you can easily find it in tourist souvenir shops and super markets. Maple syrup is often eaten with French toast, pancakes, waffles or porridge and oatmeal and is also sometimes used as a sweetener. Maple syrup and maple trees have become so ingrained in Canadian culture that even the Canadian flag features a maple leaf.
3) Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo Bars, named after the town in which the originated, are arguably Canada’s unofficial favourite confection. It is a cookie bar that consists of a wafer crumb-based layer with a layer of custard flavored butter icing and the covered in melted chocolate that is harden after the whole dish chills in a fridge. While I do enjoy my Nanaimo bars, this dessert is very sweet, so if you eat too many be prepared to go to the dentist office!
4) Butter Tarts
Butter tarts were common in pioneer Canadian cooking and remain a popular Canadian dessert today. An integral part of Canadian cuisine, the butter tart is very popular in English-speaking provinces of Canada and you can find it in nearly any grocery store bakery section or bakery.
Bannock, also known as Frybread, is very popular in first nation’s cuisine and while the other foods on this list are easy to find in any Canadian restaurant or grocery store, finding authentic Bannock might take some time. Not to worry however because Bannock is fairly easy to make in your own home and contains only a few ingredients including flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, and milk or water. My favourite way to eat Bannock is with a nice cup of tea and some delicious jam!
By: Nathalie Batres