Discover the Top 10 Traditional Canadian Foods You Need to Try (2023)
Wondering what should your food trip to Canada look like? Keep reading since we have a lot stored for you.
Canada is home to an array of culinary delights. Traditional Canadian food is a testament to the nation’s diverse and rich culinary heritage. At every corner of the nation, Canada boasts a rich platter of mouthwatering dishes that aren’t just locally popular but have gained global acclaim. The gastronomic wonders in Canada are bound to leave you craving for more, no matter if you are a food lover, on a culinary trip, or just curious to eat around.
There’s always an ongoing argument that Canadian cuisine lacks a distinct national identity. Well, it is somehow true as Canadian cuisine isn’t as acclaimed as Greek, Moroccan, Italian, Mediterranean, or Asian. However, its worth noting that every province and territory in Canada has its own unique dishes. The food here is highly influenced by a blend of cultures and regional specialties. The options can truly satisfy different palates, whether you crave hearty comfort food, a burst of flavours, or delectable desserts.
Join us as we explore the Top 10 Traditional Food Items In Canada. Embark on a flavour some journey through Canada’s food scene.
Discover the Top 10 Traditional Canadian Foods You Need to Try
Only a few Canadian dishes are world-renowned, and Poutine is at the top of them. This jewel of Canadian cuisine originates from Quebec, and the city takes pride in offering its own version of the dish. For creating an authentic and delicious poutine experience using, fresh-cut fries, real cheese curds, and flavorful gravy are a must. Canadian Poutine is now internationally recognized, and the specialty continues to grow. However, not all Poutines are created equally, and for the best experience, it is better to try the one made using traditional ingredients and preparations.
Best Places To Try Poutine In Canada
- Nom Nom Nom Poutine & Crêpes, Toronto
- Fritz European Fryhouse, Vancouver
- Au Pied De Cochon, Quebec
- Le Banquise Montréal, Québec
2. Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup holds great cultural and historical significance in Canadian cuisine. Derived from the sap of maple trees, it is often collected during the Spring season. In Canada, the Indigenous peoples have been harvesting maple syrup for centuries. This food item is deeply ingrained in nations’ culinary traditions and is enjoyed widely. It isn’t just a food item but Maple Syrup in Canada is celebrated during the sugaring season with festivals and events. Regions like Quebec and Ontario even offer tours to Maple Syrup farms.
Best Places To Try Maple Syrup In Canada
- Richardson’s Farm in Dunnville
- Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival
- Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm
- Macphee’s Orchard on Prince Edward Island
A staple in Canadian cuisine for centuries, Bannock is a traditional Indigenous bread. This quick grab-and-go type of snack is distinctly Canadian and thus is a must-try in Canada. Bannock has various shapes, forms, and toppings and is also known as Fry bread in some places. Even though it receives routes from Scotland, Bannock has that local flavour that calls it Canada’s favourite. For making Bannock, flour, baking powder, and water or milk are mixed together for either baking or frying. It isn’t very common in restaurant menus but is available to try at Indigenous communities and cultural events.
Best Places To Try Bannock In Canada
- Nunavut, since Bannock has deep roots in Indigenous culture and the Inuit communities, can offer an authentic experience.
- Manitoba due to its vibrant Indigenous food scene.
- Indigenous-owned restaurants and food trucks in Vancouver and Victoria
- Restaurants and Indigenous-focused eateries in Toronto and Ottawa
- Indigenous-owned restaurants, cafes, and bakeries in cities like Saskatoon and Regina.
4. Montréal-style Bagels
You may have tried different types of Bagels, but if you haven’t tried the Montréal-style Bagels yet, do that right away. The unsung heroes of great Canadian food, Montréal-style Bagels are sweet, dense and thin. They aren’t like the traditional New York Bagels. These Canadian Bagels are baked in wood-fired ovens and are poached in honey water. And with toppings of poppy seeds to raisins, they taste quite different from regular bagels. Even though entire Canada has some excellent Bagel options, the ones in Montreal, where the bagel tradition originated, are highly recommended.
Best Places To Try Montréal-style Bagels In Canada
- Hinnawi Bros Bagel & Café
- St-Viateur Bagel, an iconic institution in Montreal
- Bagel World in Toronto
- Gryfe’s Bagel Bakery in Toronto
5. Nanaimo Bars
The classic Canadian dessert, Nanaimo Bars, is a must on your Culinary trip to Canada. These sweet dessert bars are named after Nanaimo in British Columbia and have a lot of stories associated with their origin. Nanaimo Bars are basically three-layer no-bake bars. The bottom-most layer is a coconutty crust, along with a soft yellow custard icing, finally topped with chocolate ganache. Some bakeries also offer personalization of the layers to turn them into a different kind of desert. Nanaimo Bars can also be shopped to take along; however, storing them at a cool and dry place is recommended.
Best Places To Try Nanaimo Bars In Canada
- Old Town Bakery in Victoria, British Columbia
- The Sweet Oven in Alberta, Calgary
- The Nanaimo Bar Trail in British Columbia
- Mon Petit Choux, and the Nanaimo Bar Café in Bristish Columbia
6. Saskatoon Berries or Saskatoon Berry Pies
Saskatoon berries are a native Canadian fruit that grows in Saskatchewan and other prairie provinces in Canada. In appearance, Saskatoon resembles blueberries, but their taste is slightly sweet and nutty. This fruit is often loved by locals; however, what’s more, popular is its desert version. The Saskatoon Berry Pies are a not-too-sweet dessert, and when it comes to taste, they are exceptionally excellent. These berry pies are considered a light dessert and can be enjoyed year-round. However, they are more enjoyed during a warm summer day.
Best Places To Try Saskatoon Berries or Saskatoon Berry Pies In Canada
- Prairie Berry Farm in Manitoba
- The Saskatoon Farm in De Winton, Alberta
- Rocky Mountain House Farmers’ Market in Alberta
- The Frenchway Café and Prairie Harvest Café in Regina, Alberta
7. Butter Tarts
Another Classic Canadian dessert, Butter Tarts are loved to perfection. These Canadian tart-shaped delicacies are just so simple but yet oh so good. Butter Tarts are made using flaky pastry shells with gooey butter, sugar, and egg filling inside. Its taste can be compared to sugar or pecan pie, however, without that nutty note. This delectable, rich treat can be found in restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, and wholesalers. However, food lovers who are serious about tasting the best Butter Tarts in Canada must visit rural Ontario. Popularly known as Butter Tart Trail, a string of Bakeries here offer the best Butter Tarts in the world.
Best Places To Try Butter Tarts In Canada
- Ontario Butter Tart Festival in Midland, Ontario
- Leahy’s Orchard in Frankville, Ontario
- Butter Tart Tour in Kawarthas Northumberland region
- Canadian Maple Delights in Quebec City
8. Split Pea Soup
It may not sound the most appealing, but Split Pea Soup is the most hearty and comforting dish. It is particularly loved during the chilling winter season in Canada and is often enjoyed as a homemade meal. With Québécois origins, split pea soup is made using peas, pork and herbs. All of these ingredients are blended together for pure, creamy deliciousness. The soup is either enjoyed alone or with a piece of bagel or bread. Split Pea Soup is more of a classic French Canadian food. It was invented nearly four centuries ago but still has the same enthusiasm and popularity amongst Canadians.
Best Places To Try Split Pea Soup In Canada
- The Coastal Inn in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
- Le Chic Shack, La Bûche, and Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec City
- The Green Door Restaurant in Ottawa
- Ches’s Famous Fish and Chips in St. John’s, Newfoundland
Another very weird-sounding traditional Canadian food item is BeaverTails. Typically a snack item, BeaverTails literally resembles the shape of a beaver’s tail, and that’s how it got its name. This slab of delicious, deep-fried dough is flattened donuts without a hole. BeaverTails’ recipe cascaded down generations in the family of Mr. Graham Hooker. Once fried, this snack is then topped with Nutella, cinnamon sugar, icing combos, crushed-up candy bars, whipped cream, and a range of other toppings. BeaverTails are enjoyed by kids and adults both. It is more likely a popular choice to pair with winter coffee.
Best Places To Try BeaverTails In Canada
- ByWard Market in Ottawa
- Cows Ice Cream in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- Vancouver Christmas Market in British Columbia
- BeaverTails Pastry shops at different locations in Ottawa, Montreal, and Whistler.
10. Ketchup… on Everything
Canadians have a fondness for Ketchup, and they take their Ketchup very seriously, literally with a lot of things. Ketchup isn’t an obsession unique to Canada, but Canadians somehow manage to have the most of it. Ketchup isn’t particularly a traditional dish but a condiment. Canada has ketchup chips, a staple snack, grilled cheese dipped in Ketchup, and a lot more with this combination. The locals pair Ketchup literally with anything from french fries, hamburgers, and hot dogs to meat pies. The affinity for Ketchup in Canada can be associated with cultural influence; however, it is more of a culinary habit.