As you know, Canada is a very large country – second largest in the world to be exact – with a widespread mixture of resources, climates, and traditions. Because of this, each region boasts unique flavors and culinary offerings from french fries to seafood and everything in between. Canadian cuisine is a welcome treat for any traveler and if you are lucky enough to visit, here are five foods you need to try:
Poutine, the unofficial National Food of Canada, is a simple dish of french fries topped with squeaky fresh cheese curds and brown gravy. What originated in the French province of Quebec in the 1950s can now be found all over Canada. Whether traveling through Vancouver or Toronto, when booking a Niagara Falls hotel or strolling the street of Quebec City, there will be someone telling you where to get the best poutine. Take their advice or just try them all!
2. Montreal Smoked Meat
Montreal’s smoked meat, often referred to as Canada’s version of pastrami, will practically melt in your mouth. This Kosher-style deli meat is all beef brisket, hand sliced and served on rye with yellow mustard. It’s first salted, cured with spices such as cracked peppercorn and coriander, hot smoked, and then steamed to mouth-watering perfection. Don’t leave Montreal without stopping at one of the many delis serving up the tenderest meat in all of Canada.
3. Nanaimo Bars
Named after the British Columbian city of Nanaimo, this dessert bar consists of a wafer crumb crust, a layer of custard flavored icing, and melted chocolate. It’s no surprise that this treat skyrocketed to become one of Canada’s most treasured food items, and was even once voted “Canada’s favorite confection.” If you’re just visiting, you can find these almost anywhere but remember for when you return home, a delicious and easy Nanaimo bar recipe is never hard to find.
A traditional aspect of the Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners in Quebec households, tourtiere is meat pie made from diced pork, beef, or veal. Though historically French Canadian, this dish is now served in all parts of Canada and even down in the New England region of the United States. Because regional availability dictates what goes inside the tourtiere, there is no one way to prepare this dish. That being said, your tourtiere could also be made with either wild game or fish. Mix it all up with some spices and vegetables, throw it in a piecrust, and you’ve got yourself a delicious holiday dinner.
5. E.I. Mussels
As you might expect, P.E.I. mussels come from Canada’s far eastern province of Prince Edward Island. While your typical wild mussels grow along shorelines, P.E.I. mussels are cultured in mesh sacks suspended in the cool water. This process ensures that the mussels grow in ideal conditions, never touching the ocean floor, and yields mussels that are sweeter, plumper, and ones that contain less grit than the standard. Tasty and nutritious as well, P.E.I. mussels have quickly become one of North America’s most popular seafood’s.
Whichever region of Canada you travel to, you are sure to find yourself surrounded by a wealth of the country’s signature dishes. From coast to coast, Canada is proud of their cuisine and can’t wait to share it with you so arrive with an empty stomach and a desire to try new things!