From the peculiar to the scrumptious, here are seven top Canadian foods to discover on your next trip. Your tastebuds will thank you!
Let’s be honest – one of the best parts of travelling is tasting the different food around the world. Canadian cuisine is no exception and we want to make sure you get to experience the top Canadian foods during your trip.
While these famous foods did not make it into Canada’s new food guide for healthy eating, these top Canadian foods should make it on to your must-eat list while exploring the Great North. From the best Canadian snacks to breakfast foods, and (of course) poutine, get ready for a dose of some Canadian goodness.
7 Must-Try Canadian Foods
1. Ketchup chips: a favourite Canadian snack
While we will go over the more famous Canadian foods like beavertails and poutine, we wanted to start the list with one you might not have heard about: ketchup chips.
Canadians love ketchup so much there is a chip flavour dedicated to the condiment. Ketchup chips taste a bit like a mild salt and vinegar chip with a hint of tomato. And the red colour of this Canadian staple food often leaves a trace of red powder on your fingers.
During your trip to Canada, you might notice that many Canadians enjoy unique ketchup combinations. You might spot it being eating with some popular meals like Kraft Dinner, grilled cheeses, and meat pies (tourtières)!
Pro tip: Ketchup and catsup are not synonymous.
2. Tire d’érable: a Canadian winter staple
We don’t think you need to be reminded that maple syrup is a Canadian staple. However, you might not know there is a Canadian food even more spectacular than the sticky sweetness: an even stickier, sweeter product called tire d’érable.
Tire d’érable is like a reduction of maple syrup (boiled for a longer processing time), which is poured onto clean snow. The coldness of the snow causes the tire d’érable to harden pretty immediately. Then, you roll it up with a fresh popsicle stick and eat the maple taffy to your heart’s content. This is a popular Canadian treat between late February until April, also known as “maple season”. This is when maple farmers have kiosks set up all over major cities for everyone to indulge in our beloved tire d’érable.
3. Bloody Caesar: with your Canadian breakfast
Bloody Mary? Nah. That’s not how we do in the Great White North. A Bloody Caesar cocktail is the perfect complement to a Canadian breakfast. At its simplest, a Bloody Caesar is made with Clamato juice, vodka, hot sauce, lime, and Worcestershire sauce. It’s served typically in a highball glass rimmed with salt with a celery stalk added, and sometimes a stuffed olive or two.
What’s Clamato juice? It’s a clam-infused tomato juice that’s a Canadian favourite and helps make our beloved Bloody Caesar a uniquely salty and spicy cocktail. And did you know that about 350 million Bloody Caesars are consumed every year in Canada? That’s a lot of Clamato juice. Originally invited in 1969 in Calgary, Alberta, no trip to Cowtown is complete without a Canadian breakfast and a Bloody Caesar.
Many Canadians really love their brunch, which is why the Bloody Caesar is often associated with breakfast. However, it is not strictly a breakfast food and it can often be ordered with an array of eclectic and impressive toppings like lobster claws, mini-grilled cheeses (yes, you read that correctly) or onion rings.
Pro tip: Order your Caesar with gin instead of vodka or add some horseradish for a bolder flavour.
4. Poutine: the latest in the Canada Food Guide
No, our precious and always delicious poutine isn’t an item on the Canada Food Guide, but really, shouldn’t it be? There’s something so perfect about the combo of fries, cheese and gravy that can satisfy most salty cravings – especially with home-cut fries and squeaky cheese curds. And yes, the cheese topping must be cheese curds. Period end of story.
There’s no better time to enjoy this popular Canadian food than in 2019 when restaurants have gotten so inventive with their poutine toppings and options. You can try smoked meat poutine, maple bacon poutine, or even candy poutine, showcased by our favourite Canadian foodies and Youtubers, Epic Meal Time.
Pro tip: For more info on what poutine is and where to find the best poutine check out: The Best Go-To Spots for Poutine in Canada.
5. Nanaimo bars: a Canadian sweet from BC
Nanaimo bars don’t hold worldwide fame like some other Canadian foods, but they are a dessert you should seek out. Named after the Canadian city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, the Nanaimo bar is a no-bake dessert with three distinct layers.
The bottom is a graham-cracker crumb base, the middle is a bit custardy, and the top layer is pure chocolate. How did it gain popularity? You have to try it to find out.
Pro tip: These aren’t often served in restaurants with the exception of your local Tim Hortons, but if you ever find yourself at a bake sale or farmer’s market, see if you can find this triple-threat Canadian treat.
6. Smoked meat sandwich: a Montreal deli icon
This iconic meat is a Canadian food that got its start in a few delis in Montreal, and can now be found a little bit everywhere across the country, especially as a bonus topping on poutine.
Basically, smoked meat is beef brisket that is cured for a period of time with a variety of spices and then smoked and steamed. You can often order lean, medium or fatty cuts in a sandwich served on rye bread, topped with yellow mustard, and a pickle on the side.
This sandwich dish has become so popular, there is even a musical show created about one of the top smoked meat delis in Montreal called Schwartz’s.
Pro tip: Order your smoked meat sandwich with a side of fries and a Cherry Coke to complete the classic Canadian meal.
7. Beaver Tails: in honour of the National animal
Beaver Tails have nothing to do with the actual beaver, our National animal. But Canada decided to name a snack after them, and thus the Beaver Tail was born. This Canadian snack is a deep-fried dessert that is stretched out to be similar in shape to a beaver’s tail.
Once the dough is deep-fried, the ‘tail’ is covered in your choice of topping – the original version being cinnamon and sugar. Delish!
Beaver Tails is not a food anyone consumes daily, but it does tend to show up at festivals and events, with most permanent shops in the more tourist-oriented areas of the city. Still, the Beaver Tail is a Canadian essential that you must try at least once.
Pro tip: Unless you have a giant sweet tooth, get one to share.
Want More Ideas for Your Personal Canadian Food Guide?
Check out these Skyscanner articles for more restaurants and snacks to try around Canada.
- What is a Donair? Getting to Know Halifax’s Official Food
- Calgary and Edmonton: Things to See, Eat and Do
- The 10 Best Restaurants in Montreal
- Sip Your Way Through the Top Wineries in Niagara, Canada
Can’t resist these treats any longer? Check out the Skyscanner search engine for the best deals on flights, hotels and car rentals to sink your teeth into these famous Canadian foods as soon as possible.