Canada Day is almost here, and what better way to show just how much we love this beautiful country than to devour some delicious Canadian food?
As a multicultural society, Canada’s multiculturalism is embodied in food. From poutine to ginger beef to Halifax donair, this nation has no shortage of mouth-watering eats.
For this Canada Day, here are the ultimate Canadian foods that you must try at least once in your life.
Naturally we’ll start with poutine, since nothing really gets more Canadian than a bowl of fries with hot gravy and cheese curds. The dish originated from Quebec in the 1950s, and today, it is often identified as ‘Canada’s national dish.’ While the traditional recipe is already delicious, poutine with toppings like pulled pork and bacon are also very popular.
Who needs Starbucks when you can get some Timbits and an Iced Capp from our beloved Canadian food chain, Tim Hortons? Timbits are bite-sized fried doughs, and they are the perfect sweets for all occasions. Once you put one in your mouth, you won’t be able to stop eating. There are also many flavours available.
Everyone knows what poutine is, but what about poutine râpée? Poutine râpée is completely different from the fries-and-gravy combination of poutine, and it is a type of boiled dumpling with mashed potato and pork fillings. This traditional Acadian dish is generally regarded as a special occasion meal, and it is popular in many families with French heritage.
Tarte au sucre, also known as sugar pie, is a traditional Quebec specialty. The pie has a single crust filled with brown sugar, vanilla, cream, and sometimes maple syrup. The perfect tarte au sucre should have a jelly-like texture, but still solid enough to slice. It is a delicious treat and a popular holiday dessert in Canada.
Canada is maple syrup, and maple syrup is Canada. And we are talking about actual, real Canadian maple syrup, not the ones you can buy for $1 in grocery stores. According to Statistics Canada, Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup. The syrup can be found in ice cream, donuts, pies, and even chicken wings.
Tire sur la neige is an old-fashioned treat in Quebec, and it is a kind of maple taffy literally made in the snow. To make tire sur la neige, you bring maple syrup to a boil, then pour it in strips over the snow in order to get a taffy-like consistency. It is basically maple syrup in candy form.
Windsorites are as proud of their Windsor-style pizza as Chicagoans are about their Chicago deep dish. Windsor-style pizza is a thick-crust pie baked in a wood-burning stove. It features a spicy-sweet arrabbiata style sauce, shredded pepperoni, and toppings that go on top of the cheese (this is very important). Many Windsorites love to eat it at room temperature.
The Halifax donair is Halifax’s official snack, and there is even a 24/7 live stream of spinning donair. The sandwich is a pita filled with shaved meat (typically lamb or beef), served with tomatoes and onions (nothing else!), and topped with a special house donair sauce. It is a great drunk/hangover food, and you can find many people standing in line at donair shops after a long night out.
Garlic fingers are chewy, cheesy pizza-like strips, and what makes them complete is Halifax’s famous donair sauce. They are the perfect option to satisfy your late night snack cravings, and they can also serve as appetizers or party treats.
The pie dates back to the 19th century, and it is a true Canadian Prairie classic. The name ‘flapper pie’ is unique to the Canadian Prairies, and those from Eastern Canada or BC might not know what it is. It is a graham crumb crust pie with a creamy custard filling, then topped with meringue or whipped cream.
The Saskatoon berry is a dark, purple berry which can be found in western and central Canada. It is typically used in scones and muffins, but our favourite is the Saskatoon berry pie. With a bit of vanilla ice cream melting on top, it will taste like literal heaven.
Jos. Louis is a delicious mini-size sponge cake, consisting of two red velvet cake rounds with a cream filling in between. It was created in 1932 in Canada by Josef-Arcade Vachon, and it has since become a children’s favourite.
Tiger tail ice cream is a Canadian favourite and not often found elsewhere. Also known as ‘tiger tiger’ or ‘tiger flavour’, it is a type of orange flavoured ice cream with stripes of black licorice running through it, giving it a tiger tail look.
A classic BeaverTails pastry is a Canadian pastry made of whole-wheat dough, hand stretched and shaped like a beaver’s tail. It often comes with a choice of sweet toppings like whipped cream, banana slices, chocolate drizzle, or even ice cream. The pastry received national attention when US President Barack Obama purchased one during his visit to Canada in 2009.
Tourtiere is a Canadian meat pie dish originated from Quebec, and it is still a traditional part of Christmas and New Year’s Eve meals in Quebec. The pie is usually made with potatoes and a type of meat, such as minced pork, veal, or beef. The best part is that you don’t have to fly to Quebec to get a taste of it, because it is sold in grocery stores all across Canada.
A Caesar, also known as a ‘Bloody Caesar,’ is a cocktail that holds a special place in Canadians’ hearts. The drink was invented in 1969 by Walter Chell in Calgary, when he mixed vodka with clam and tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and other spices. Today, over 350 million Caesars are consumed annually, and the classic Caesar has also inspired many modern varieties.
Although the Germans invented Eiswein, some of the world’s best Icewine today is known to come from Canada, especially Ontario. Icewine is a type of dessert wine, and it is literally made from grapes that are frozen on the vine. It is great on its own after a meal, and you can also try it with a fruity dessert or cheese.
You weren’t ready for this one, were ya? It is believed that the California Roll we love today started off as the Tojo-maki roll created by Hidekazu Tojo, a Japanese native who moved to Vancouver back in 1971. The modern California roll contains cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado.
People have a love-hate relationship with this one, but did you know Greek Canadian Sotirios Panopoulos created the first Hawaiian pizza in Chatham, Ontario? Hawaiian pizza is a pizza topped with tomato sauce, cheese, pineapple, and ham (or sometimes bacon). Although the great pineapple-on-pizza debate is still ongoing, Hawaiian pizza remains popular around the world.
Montreal bagel is a distinctive variety of handmade and wood-fired baked bagel. It is typically sweeter, smaller, and thinner, comparing to New York bagels or East Coast style bagels. It was brought to Canada by Jewish immigrants from Poland and other eastern European countries, and it remains a popular breakfast choice in Montreal.
It is a type of deli meat product that can go on literally everything. Try it on its own, with cheese, or get one of the Montreal style smoked meat sandwiches, which is made with rye bread and piled with hand-sliced smoked meat.
As Canada’s signature snack, the crunchy chips are doused in a reddish, ketchup flavoured seasoning. We can all agree that the best ketchup chips are made by Lay’s, and they are sold only in Canada. The snack is weirdly addictive, and our American friends have made several attempts at creating a ketchup chip that is as good as our Canadian version (and didn’t quite succeed, obvi).
The Nanaimo bar is a no-bake dessert item, named after the city of Nanaimo, BC. A classic Nanaimo bar consists of three layers: a coconut crumb-base, custard flavoured icing in the centre, and another layer of chocolate.
This is a Canadian-Chinese dish made from beef, ginger, and a distinctive special sweet sauce. The beef is often stir-fried with carrot and onions, and the dish can be found in many Chinese restaurants all across Canada. It was created during the 1970s by chef George Wong of Calgary, Alberta.
Shreddies is a breakfast cereal brand made from whole grain wheat. In Canada, production began in 1939, before branching out to the UK in 1953. It comes in many flavours like chocolate, honey, and banana bread, but nothing beats a bowl of classic Shreddies.
Let’s be real here — Canadian bacon is the only kind of bacon us Canadians know. Known simply as ‘back bacon’ in Canada, it is a form of bacon that is cured, smoked, fully cooked, and then trimmed into thin slices. It is a ready-to-eat product that will make your eggs benny taste like heaven.
The butter tart is the nation’s most iconic dessert tart. A classic butter tart has a filling of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg, all baked in a pastry shell. The modern versions of the tart filling include ingredients that range from bacon to chilli.
Pemmican is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein in solid form, and it was originally an important element of First Nations cuisine. It is basically Canada’s original protein bar, and it is considered as one of the best super survival eats. In some cases, dried fruits like berries and cherries are also used.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘Swiss’ in its name, because the brand is 100% Canadian. The chain restaurant, Swiss Chalet, is famous for its roasted chicken and Chalet sauce. The most popular dish on the restaurant’s menu is the Quarter Chicken Dinner, which includes a roasted chicken leg or breast with the chalet sauce, a bread roll, and a side dish. The sauce is so good that Lay’s even created Chalet sauce flavoured chips.