9 Must-Try Canadian Foods


You never forget the best meal you ever had on vacation. Maybe it was fresh lobster bathed in butter. Maybe it was a beavertail dusted with sugar and drizzled with chocolate. Or maybe it was the sweetest berry that ever exploded on your taste buds and stained your lips.

As part of our Travel Sensations series, we’re looking at the flavours that represent the country. Here are the most popular Canadian dishes and where to find them!

 

Fish Cake

Seafood and Prince Edward Island go together like oysters and lemon. In fact, the official regional food is fish cake, made with salmon or cod, fried crispy with shredded potatoes. Where do you find the tastiest fish cakes in Prince Edward Island? Start in Malpeque Bay and circuit the coast.

Top places for fish cake:

  • Malpeque Oyster Barn – Fish cakes, pan-fried oysters, and white wine steamed mussels are ready for your chompers here.
  • The Gahan House – Baked oysters, fish cakes, and rock crab dip are prepared fresh out of the sea at this hot spot.

Create your own tasty fish cakes at home with this Potato Fish Cakes recipe from Chef Michael.

Chinese Dumplings

Oh, baby. Chinese dumplings. Those little pockets of hot, steamy, spicy, sweet goodness taste so perfect when they hit your palette. Where do you find some of the tastiest in the country? Markham, Ontario.

Top places for dumplings:

  • Casa Victoria – For upscale dining and elegance, you can’t go wrong at this popular restaurant.
  • Ding Tai Fung – This local favourite will made your tummy happy, when you pop dozens of hot and steamy dumplings in your mouth.

Make your own savory Pork and Ginger Dumplings with A Cook Not Mad.

Lobster Rolls

There’s no competing with a fresh lobster roll. Once that chilled crustacean—tossed with mayo and pepper—meets your tongue, life is good. Get your fill of the soft meat in one of the country’s lobster capitals: Cheticamp, Nova Scotia.

Top places for lobster rolls:

  • Happy Clam Cafe and Grill – What do you get when you pair a cold lobster roll with piping hot Happy Cheese Fries? Perfection.
  • Seafood Stop Restaurant – Since it opened twenty years ago, this spot is about good eats that melt on your tongue like butter.

Make lobster rolls at home with this Grilled Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls recipe from Food Gypsy.

 

Beavertails

It wouldn’t be a list of Canadian flavours without beavertails. Chew into these sweet pastries as cinnamon, Nutella, and crushed candy coat your tongue. Ottawa is absolutely the best place to find them.

Top spot for beavertails:

  • BeaverTails Pastry at ByWard Market – This place is so famous for the sweets, U.S. President Obama grabbed one from this locale.

Make this delicious dessert at home with this Homemade Beaver Trails with Pizza Dough recipe from The Girl on Bloor

 

Butter Tarts

Flaky, sticky, and addictive, butter tarts are the treats you should share with your friend but probably won’t. These pastries are often filled with nuts or raisins, but sometimes flavours like bacon or pumpkin sneak in. Barrie, Ontario, is where the sweet got its start, and it’s still the best place to get your fill.

Top places for butter tarts:

  • The Sweet Oven – The gooey centers of the tarts are delicious, plus Instagram-worthy. The eatery has flavours like coconut, chai, and mint Oreo.
  • Don’s Bakery – Using the same recipe from the 1940s and making everything from scratch, this sweet shop is about tradition and top-notch quality.

Make delicious butter tarts at home with this Old-Fashioned Butter Tarts recipe from Little Sweet Baker.

 

Venison

Ready to try venison aka deer meat? This rich, earthy flavour isn’t your usual Sunday roast. Not only is it firmer than other meats, but you can sometimes detect hints of acorns. Get your fill in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where it’s done right.

Top spot for venison:

  • Wanuskewin Heritage Park – Get your socks knocked off when you try their venison burger, which is topped with blueberry wojapi sauce and goat cheese.

When you’re ready to try something new, cook up this venison burgundy stew recipe from Outdoor Canada’s wild food expert, Cameron Tait.

 

Bannock Bread

A popular dish among First Nations communities, this treat is beginning to see world-wide recognition. The wheat flour-based bread ranges from dense and heavy to fluffy and puffy, depending on if it’s baked or fried. Find your new favourite bannock spots in and around Westbank, British Columbia.

Top spot for bannock:

  • Kekuli Cafe Coffee House – With the motto “Don’t Panic…We Have Bannock!” you know this is the right place. This famous spot includes flavours like sugar, Skor, and Saskatoon berry.

True to its name, your family will go crazy when you make Our Kids Love Bannock #Recipe at home, from Mommy Moment.

 

Fresh Fruit

You can’t compete with fresh fruit grown in the countryside. Sun-kissed and time-ripened, these juicy morsels coat the taste buds in sweetness. Head to Waterloo, Ontario, for the tastiest produce in Canada.

Top spot for fresh fruit:

  • Jacobs Farmers’ Market – As the largest year-round farmers market in the country, it houses hundreds of vendors with ripe produce for sale.

Bake up delicious Waterloo Country Apple Crunch at home, with Martin’s Family Fruit Farm‘s famous recipe.

 

Poutine

Is there a Canadian food more iconic than poutine? Didn’t think so! If you’re going to experience it, do it right and go to the poutine mecca: Montreal, Quebec.

Top places for poutine:

  • La Banquise – You’ll find 30 poutine options here, with toppings like pulled pork and fried pickles.
  • Poutine Centrale – With over two dozen poutine dishes, you’ll find something delicious here, with toppings like Indian chicken stew, bacon, and corn.

Learn how to make Poutine with Homemade Gravy at home with Chef Ricardo.

When it comes to Canadian cuisine, expect dishes that are fresh and potent. Maybe it’s something with a punch of sweetness, or has enough crunch to startle the table next to you. Whatever it is, your next foodie trip is waiting for you!

What’s your favourite Canadian dish? Tell us in the comment section below!

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About Author

Jennifer Cuellar

Jennifer Cuellar is a writer, an avid explorer, and fan of all things Games of Thrones-related. When she’s not sipping tea in a café by the beach, she’s off writing about wondrous cities you simply have to visit. From mountain peaks to downtown streets, there’s a world of adventure waiting to be explored. She spotlights top cities to tour, which attractions you’ve got to see, and off-the-beaten path activities to try during your next vacation. Let’s go travel!

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