Canada is not well-known for her cuisine. Most people associate maple syrup and poutine with Canada (and in America a strange cut of ham called “Canadian Bacon” that can’t be found in Canada…it’s called “ham” or sometimes “back bacon”…). What isn’t well appreciated is that there are several delicious recipes that are uniquely Canadian! French, English, Aboriginal, Ukrainian and Middle-Eastern influences have all heavily impacted the cuisine in Canada, so that today Canada can proudly lay claim to some truly delicious dishes!
The most famous Canadian edible export is, of course, maple syrup. Canada produces 9 times more maple syrup per year than the rest of the world combined, and is the only country in the world that has a strategic syrup reserve (it’s true, although industry set it up and maintains it, rather than government)! It’s no wonder that maple syrup and Canada go together like syrup and pancakes…
Yellow peas, chunks of ham, carrots and a bunch of other stuff make this delicious French Canadian Pea Soup a hit around the world, even if not everybody realizes it originates in Quebec.
Montreal, Quebec became a mini-mecca for Europe’s Jews fleeing persecution, and they brought many of their old world traditions with them, including the bagel. Several decades later and the Montreal Bagel has evolved: it’s like a bagel, but thinner.
A traditional First Nations bread, bannock, is still cooked and eaten today in First Nations communities, among the French Canadians and in some specialty cafes and stores.
The Butter Tart, a deliciously Canadian treat that originated with settlers in Upper Canada (today’s Ontario).
Candied Salmon, glazed with maple syrup or honey, is a delicious and hardy treat found all over British Columbia’s west coast.
Chocolate Bark: Thin flakes of chocolate and/or caramel and/or other goodies make for satisfying the sweet tooth.
Despite many claims to the opposite, the Donair is Canadian by default. Ancestors of the Donair include the Turkish “Donner” and the Greek “Gyro”, but it was 2 Lebanese immigrants to Halifax in, Nova Scotia in 1970 who made the traditional garlicky-yogurt sauce of the Gyro a sweet mixture of evaporated milk, sugar and other ingredients, and changed the toppings to a bruschetta mix, that the Donair was created. The Donair (or Halifax Donair) is today claimed by the British, Americans, Greeks and others, although they are talking about the “Donner”. The Donair is different, and is Canadian.
If there is one thing most Canadians love, and most others wish they had, it is Ketchup Chips!
The Nova Scotia Lobster Roll, a favourite across the country! Basically a roll or bun stuffed with a lobster and mayonaise concoction. McDonald’s in Nova Scotia even serves a “McLobster Roll”! No joke! They do!
The Nanaimo Bar, from the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. Some legends say they originated with the Aboriginal tribes who lived on Vancouver Island, while other legends say it was British settlers to Nanaimo who created the delicious chocolaty, buttery treat that melts in your mouth (and your hands)!
The quintessential Canadian food, poutine, is admired (or reviled) around the world. In many places people make fun of it, but Canadians know that this delicious artery-stopper that originated in Quebec is a miracle in its own right.
Queen Charlotte Sablefish is a tasty black fish that lives near the Queen Charlotte Islands in northern British Columbia. Unique to the region, Sablefish has recently been included in Gordon Ramsay’s chain of restaurants as a delicacy.
During the 1970’s, before anyone else though of it, Tim Horton’s was punching out the centers of doughnuts and serving them up as Timbits. 40 years later and a box of Timbits is still a big hit no matter where one is!
Tortiere hails from Quebec, as the name might suggest. Basically spiced beef stuffed into a sweet pie shell and voila! More delicious French Canadian food!
Originating in Ottawa, the Beavertail is actually a sugary, cinnamony deep fried dough that is warm and soft absolutely delicious.