Food around Canada Guide, Facts & Recipes
The Diverse Dishes of Canada: A Smorgasbord of Culture
When it comes to defining what truly Canadian cuisine is, we often get tripped up by the delicious stereotypes of poutine, maple syrup and ketchup chips. Although these are embraced by the Canadian people and are accurate, the country actually has a lot more to offer. Canada is a country of immigrants, where all people other than the Indigenous Peoples (or Aboriginal), have descended from those of other lands. This means that Canadian cuisine is a wonderful mix of many cultures that spans out across the provinces and territories. These regions include the: Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Nunavut (T), British Columbia (P), Alberta (P), Saskatchewan (P), Manitoba (P), Ontario (P), Quebec (P), Newfoundland (P), Prince Edward Island (P), Nova Scotia (P), and New Brunswick (P).
Canadian Cuisine Facts and History
Both France and England battled over colonizing Canada during the late 1400s and in 1497 John Cabot an English explorer arrived in Newfoundland. In 1534, French explorer Jacque Cartier took to the lands of Canada and French colonies were established by the 1600s. The Hudson Bay Company (British) and the French fur traders competed against one another in trade. During the 1700s there were French and Indian wars, with the Treaty of Paris in 1763 establishing British rule over the territory.
Due to the trading that went on between the English, French and First Nations, Canadian food and customs still carry colonial influence. According to Anita Stewart’s three-part summer series on Canadian food, Canadian cuisine dates back about 18,000 years, with the cuisine consisting of only what could be grown, gathered and hunted from the lands . Since Canada was divided both by language (French and English) as well as geographic borders in the early days, the cuisine was all developed organically. During this time, beans, corn and squash as well as fish, seaweed, maple syrup and edible roots were all essential components to surviving Canadian summers and winters.
The three earliest cuisines that can be identified originated from the First Nations, the British/Scottish and French Canada. The First Nations used foraged foods, wild game, maple syrup, Pacific salmon, and whale skin and blubber (Muktuk). As trade routes opened up during immigration waves, both the First Nations and explorers were better able to augment their dishes with new ingredients. For instance, the First Nations learned how to create Bannock, which is baked dough (bread) when the Northern English and Scottish brought it over. Furthermore, apples and potatoes were not originally from the Canadian regions and were also brought over by immigrants.
Canadian Cuisine Menu
Breakfast will consist of dishes that either have bread, toast, cold cereal, fruit, hot cereals or yogurt. French Canadians tend to eat more so of a European style breakfast that would include pastries, cheese and bread. A breakfast menu would consist of items like:
• Pancakes and maple syrup,
• Peameal (Canadian bacon) on a bun,
• Fried Pork,
• Bacon/Sausage with Eggs,
• Cold Cereal,
• Omelettes (eggs with vegetables and cheese),
• Fruit Salad (mixed fruit in a bowl),
• Waffles (usually with fruit, maple syrup and whipped cream),
• French toast (usually with fruit on top),
• Breakfast wraps (sausage, egg, vegetables, cheese)
• Hot cereal (oatmeal with fruit),
• Bagels with cream cheese,
• Breakfast sandwiches (egg, ham, bacon on bread).
• Hash browns (usually served with eggs, sausage/bacon).
Lunch is usually a light meal eaten around 12:00 noon, thereby must be portable and easy to make at work. A lunch food menu may consist of the following:
• Sandwiches (chicken, ham and cheese, smoked beef),
• Wraps (Caesar, garden),
• Soups like Thick Pea Soup,
• Salads (toss salad, Caesar, chicken)
• Tuna Sandwiches
• Rye bread is used for a lot of sandwiches
• Kraft Dinner,
• Poutine (all kinds)
• Hamburgers and fries,
• Pickerel Fish.
• Donairs (Canadian kabab)
• Smoked Salmon.
Snacks may consist of a mix between fruit dishes and desserts and may include:
• Cut-up vegetables (carrots, broccoli, celery),
• Nuts (almonds, peanuts),
• Dare Maple Leaf Cookies,
• Ketchup Chips,
• All Dressed Chips,
• Jos Louis (small individual packaged chocolate cake),
• Coffee Crisp (candy bar),
• Jerky (pepperoni meat sticks),
• Smarties (candy).
• Hickory Sticks.
Dinner is almost always the largest meal of the day and most traditional Canadian dinner foods will have a large meat entrée. A dinner menu may consist of:
• Chicken breast,
• Mashed/baked Potatoes,
• Cooked vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans, corn, broccoli),
• Pork Chops,
• Ground beef
Uniquely Canadian desserts include:
• Butter tarts,
• Beaver Tail,
• Rice pudding,
• Nanaimo Bars,
• Tim Bits (donut rounds)
Popular Canadian drinks include:
• Milk in a bag,
• Ginger ale (invented by a Toronto Pharmacist in 1919).
• Bloody Caesar (Vodka and Clamato Juice),
• Tim Horton’s Coffee.
• Wine (Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Noir),
• Ice Wine,
• Beer (Molson Canadian, Labatt)
A traditional Canadian Christmas dinner may have the following on their table:
• Apple Cider,
• Roasted Turkey,
• Pumpkin Pie,
• Apple Pie,
• Mashed Potatoes,
• Tourtiere (meat pie with herbs and spices),
• Gingerbread (cookies, house),
• Candy canes,
• Christmas pudding,
• Butter tarts,
• Ice cream
A traditional Canadian Easter dinner may have the following on their table:
• Scalloped potatoes,
• Carrots/Brussel Sprouts/Broccoli/Peas/Asparagus,
• Garden Salad,
• Roasted chicken,
• Beef roast
• Cherry Pie/Fruit Pies
Most Popular Dishes:
• Poutine (fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds),
• Peameal bacon on cornmeal bun (Canadian bacon),
• Beavertails (dessert dish),
• Split Pea Soup,
• Tourtiere (Flakey meat pie),
• Wieners and Beans (baked brown beans with hot dogs),
• Kraft Dinner.
• Pancakes with maple syrup.
Most Used Ingredients:
This list won’t cover all of the ingredients used in main Canadian dishes, but it will give you a general idea of what most recipes will call for.
• Meat/Fish: Pork, Beef, Chicken, Salmon, and Pickerel. You may also encounter: lamb, veal, goose, bear, caribou/moose, and tuna.
• Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes, peas, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, tomatoes, corn, squash. You may also encounter: celery, onions, leaks, and peppers.
• Fruits: Apples, grapes, bananas. You may also encounter: limes, lemons, pears, oranges, and pineapple.
• Other: Nuts may include peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts. You may also come across herbs and spices such as: Club House steak spice, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, mint, basil, cinnamon, dill, cloves, ginger, chili, chives and sesame.
What to Eat When You Travel to Canada
If you’re planning on travelling to Canada, then there are some foods you definitely need to put on your list. In terms of street food, you’re going to want to pick up a Montreal bagel with cream cheese, poutine, a beavertail, hot dogs, a Donair (shawarma) as well as a Montreal smoked deli meat sandwich.
On the other hand, if you’re choosing to go into a Canadian restaurant then you’re going to want to try: salmon, Italian pasta, jerk chicken, Canadian pizza, and dumplings. There are plenty of other marvelous foods that you can try, but those are some of the best that you can get!
Are you from Canada? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Canadian ethnic food.