When you think of Canada, you’re more likely to think of stunning natural landscapes, filled with lakes and forests than you are of food. However, there are a lot of wonderful Canadian dishes that are equally famous. From poutine to maple syrup, here are 13 of the best Canadian dishes toy have to try when you visit:
Often called the Canadian national dish, poutine is a French-Canadian classic. A combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy, it was created in the 1950s in Quebec, but can be found around the country today.
Originating in Nanaimo in British Columbia, this sweet treat is made of three layers – a crumb base layer, buttercream custard, and a thin layer of chocolate on top. It requires no baking and can also be found in Australia, Spain and Laos.
3Montreal Smoked Meat
Montreal-style smoked meat is made by salting and curing beef briskets, which are seasoned with peppercorns and sugar. It is usually served on rye bread with yellow mustard and is a bit similar to New York’s pastrami. A popular place to try it is Schwartz’s Deli, a Montreal institution.
4Saskatoon Berry Pie
Saskatoon berries (often just called Saskatoons) are found throughout Canada, especially in British Columbia. Though they look like blueberries, they taste more like apples and are extremely popular in pies, which are baked with a buttery crust.
This traditional French-Canadian dish dates back to the 1600s and is usually served during the holiday season. It is a meat pie (fillings are usually pork, beef, veal, or game) with a flaky pastry base and spiced with cinnamon, allspice, and clove.
These pastries were created in the 1970s by a family in Ottawa. The deep-fried dough pastries are flattened to resemble beaver’s tail and can be topped with a variety of flavours and toppings. These include cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate.
7Split Pea Soup
Split pea soups are a winter speciality in Canada. Though there are now many variations, the most authentic version is made with whole yellow peas, salted pork, and herbs. You can also try Newfoundland Peas Soup, a variation with more vegetables (such as turnips and carrots) as well as dumplings.
These small pastries are filled with a mixture of butter, sugar, maple syrup, and eggs. One baked, it turns crunchy on top, and are often topped with pecans. However, the origin of these treats is a bit hazy, with some believing that they date back to the 1600s.
Montreal bagels are quite different from regular bagels. They are cooked in a wood-fired oven and tend to be smaller, thinner and denser. They are also quite a bit sweeter, as the bagels are boiled in honey-sweetened water before baking, and are often topped with poppy and sesame seeds. St Viateur and Fairmont are the most famous bagel shops in the city.
Related reading: 18 of the best things to do in Montreal
This delicious Canadian treat (also called tire d’érable sur la neige) is made by pouring hot maple syrup into fresh snow. The cold causes it to harden, creating a gooey maple taffy that you can then roll up onto a popsicle stick and enjoy.
11Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls
Located along the east coast of Canada, the maritime province of Nova Scotia is famous for its seafood. Be sure to try the delicious lobster rolls here, a Canadian favourite. You can also taste their smoked salmon and arctic char.
Said to have been invented in Calgary, the Caesar Cocktail is extremely popular across the country. It is a Canadian take on the Bloody Mary and is made with vodka, clamato juice (a mix of tomato juice and clam juice), hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
This is a variation of the Turkish/Greek doner kebab. It was introduced to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the 1970s and really took off. Donair usually uses beef instead of lamb, along with a sauce made with sugar, garlic, condensed milk, and vinegar.
BONUS: Maple Syrup
Though it’s not technically among the many Canadian dishes, Canada produces almost 75% of pure maple syrup around the world. A lot of it comes from the province of Quebec, and you can even visit the many maple syrup farms to see how it’s made. Once you’ve tried the real deal, you’re sure to get hooked.
There are lots of other delicious authentic Canadian dishes you can try (such as the famous ketchup chips, and all-dressed chips). Be sure to tell us your favourites in the comments below.