Foods to Try When Visiting Canada

Canada is not just a destination with fascinating cultures, beautiful views, and a never-ending coastline — it also sports some unique dining experiences! Many of the larger cities feature inventive chefs and new dishes that shouldn't be missed. Here are some traditional foods that you need to try when visiting the great north.


The most famous dish to come out of French Canada, poutine is put together by topping french-fries with “squeaky” cheese curds and then slathering it all in a peppery meat gravy. Once you try it, it will instantly be added to your list of comfort foods.

Canadian bacon

In Canada, it’s known as “Peameal bacon”. This is much leaner than the bacon one is used to as it's rolled in cornmeal. It used to be rolled in crushed yellow peas (as a method of preservation), when peas were cheaper and more widespread than corn.

Montreal smoked meat

Canada’s answer to pastrami, this salted and cured beef cricket is first smoked and then steamed to create an incredibly soft and flavorful sandwich stuffing. The classic way to eat it is with rye bread and spicy yellow mustard. Fun fact, Canada grows about 85% of the world’s supply of mustard plants!

Beaver Tails

Named after the flat oval shape, this deep fired pastry is much like a flat donut that's often served with toppings like Nutella, peanut butter, and fruit. This will leave you smiling even if you feel guilty about all the calories.

Butter Tarts

Usually served as individual portions, these light flaky pastry crusts are filled with a combination of sugar, eggs, and butter that make for a creamy center. Sometimes there are raisons in it, too. You can find these in most coffee shops and bakeries.

Caesar Cocktail

This cocktail can lay claim to be the national drink (well, maybe after beer). It's a mixture of Clamato juice (a blend of tomato and clam juice marketed by the Mott’s brand), vodka, and Worcestershire sauce garnished with a slated rim. The legend is that it was first created in a Calgary restaurant.

Nanaimo Bars

These no-bake bars are made up of 3 layers of crumb crust, custard, and melted chocolate. Named after the British Columbian city of Nanaimo whose website sports a recipe so that you can make it yourself


Bannock is a flat piece of bread that was introduced to the indigenous peoples of North America. The name stems from a “Bannock stone” griddle which was placed before a fir until it got hot enough to cook. Originally made from oat flour, today you can find a wide selection of versions both baked and fried. Top it with bacon for a hearty lunch.

Split pea soup

A stick to your ribs meal that is a cold weather staple, this blend of pork, peas, and herbs turns into a thick, almost puree-like dish that can stand as a meal on its own. This is a traditional dish after a day of ice fishing or snow shoeing.


Dating back to the 1600’s, this flakey pie takes its name from the dish it is baked in. Generally filled with a blend of ground pork, beef, veal, or even game and added spices, it is often eaten as part of a Christmas or New Year’s meal. On the coasts, there are seafood versions of it as well.

Maple Taffy (Tire d’érable sur la neige)

This sweet candy is prepared by pouring boiling hot maple syrup over snow. The cold causes it to immediately harden into a sticky, gooey taffy. You then roll it up with a Popsicle stick and enjoy as soon as it is ready. A child-like smile is guaranteed when you taste this.

Pouding Chomeur

Literally translated to “pudding of the unemployed”, this French Canadian dessert was created during the Great Depression. Made with just cake batter and topped with syrup, it is a gooey treat that shows the inventiveness that came about when Canadians had fewer resources but were still looking for some sunshine on their plate.

Atlantic lobster

Canada produces 87% of lobster exports with over 40,000 tons harvested each year. Delicious grilled, steamed, or featured as a main ingredient in bisque or Newberg, though the purest form is to simply have lobster with drawn butter. Of course, don’t miss out on the lobster rolls that are ever present along the Atlantic coast.

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