Top 16 Canadian Foods You Need To Try: Canadian Cuisine

Top 16 Canadian Foods You Need To Try: Canadian cuisine varies widely depending on the regions of the nation. The three earliest cuisines of Canada have First Nations, English, Scottish and French roots, with the traditional cuisine of English Canada closely related to British cuisine, while the traditional cuisine of French Canada has evolved from French cuisine and the winter provisions of fur traders. With subsequent waves of immigration in the 19th and 20th century from Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and the Caribbean, the regional cuisines were subsequently augmented.

1- Bannock

Delicious and versatile, bannock is a simple bread that was once a key staple in the diets of Canada’s Aboriginal people. Modern takes on bannock include baked versions (which are heavy/dense) and fried versions (which are crispy and fluffy on the inside). In recent years, bannock has seen a surge in popularity, with new twists and variations popping up in bakeries and cafes nationwide.

Bannock is a variety of flat quick bread or any large, round article baked or cooked from grain. A bannock is usually cut into sections before serving.

The word "bannock" comes from Northern and Scots English dialects. The Oxford English Dictionary states the term stems from panicium, a Latin word for "baked dough", or from panis, meaning bread. It was first referred to as "bannuc" in early glosses to the 8th century author Aldhelm (d. 709), and its first cited definition in 1562. Its historic use was primarily in Ireland, Scotland and Northern England. The Scottish poet Robert Burns mentions bannock in his Epistle to James Tennant of Glenconner, in reference to Alexander Tennant.

2- Oka cheese
Oka cheese

Oka is a semi-soft washed rind cheese that was originally manufactured by Trappist monks located in Oka, Quebec, Canada. The cheese is named after the town. It has a distinct flavour and aroma, and is still manufactured in Oka, although now by a commercial company. The recipe was sold in 1981 by Les Pères Trappistes to the Agropur cooperative. It is also manufactured by Trappist Monks at the Our Lady of the Prairies Monastery, located 8 miles southeast of Holland, Manitoba.

3- Montreal-style smoked meat
Montreal-style smoked meat

Montreal-style smoked meat, Montreal smoked meat or simply smoked meat in Canada, is a type of kosher-style deli meat product made by salting and curing beef brisket with spices. The brisket is allowed to absorb the flavours over a week, and is then hot smoked to cook through, and finally steamed to completion.

4- Montreal-style bagel
Montreal-style bagel

The Montreal-style bagel or Montreal bagel, is a distinctive variety of handmade and wood-fired baked bagel. In contrast to the New York-style bagel, or the East Coast Style Bagel which also contains sourdough, the Montreal bagel is smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. It contains malt, egg, and no salt, and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked.

5- Canadian peameal bacon
Canadian peameal bacon

Peameal bacon (also known as cornmeal bacon) is a wet-cured, unsmoked back bacon made from trimmed lean boneless pork loin rolled in cornmeal and is found mainly in Southern Ontario. Toronto pork packer William Davies, who came to Canada from England in 1854, is credited with its development.

The name "peameal bacon" derives from the historic practice of rolling the cured and trimmed boneless loin in dried and ground yellow peas to extend shelf life. Since the end of World War I, it has been rolled in ground yellow cornmeal.

Peameal bacon sandwiches, consisting of cooked peameal bacon on a kaiser roll and sometimes topped with mustard or other toppings, are often considered a signature dish of Toronto, particularly from Toronto's St. Lawrence Market.

6- Poutine
poutine canadian food

Poutine is a dish that includes french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. It originated in the Canadian province of Quebec and emerged in the late 1950s in the Centre-du-Québec area. It has long been associated with Quebec cuisine. For many years, it was perceived negatively and mocked, and even used by some to stigmatize Quebec society. Poutine later became celebrated as a symbol of Québécois cultural pride. Its rise in prominence led to its popularity outside the province, especially in Ontario and in the Northeastern United States.

Annual poutine celebrations occur in Montreal, Quebec City, and Drummondville, as well as Toronto, Ottawa, and Chicago. Today, it is often identified as a quintessential Canadian food. It has been called "Canada's national dish", though some believe this labelling represents a misappropriation of Québécois culture. Many variations on the original recipe are popular, leading some to suggest that poutine has emerged as a new dish classification in its own right, as with sandwiches and dumplings.

7- Oreilles de crisse
Oreilles de crisse

Oreilles de crisse is a traditional Quebec dish consisting of deep-fried smoked pork jowls. It is generally served in cabanes à sucre (sugar shacks) in spring time, traditionally topped with maple syrup.

8- Akutaq

Akutaq is a food in western Alaska and northern Canada. It is a Yup'ik word, meaning something mixed. Other names include agutak, Eskimo ice cream, Indian ice cream, Native ice cream or Alaskan ice cream. Traditionally it was made with whipped fat mixed with berries like cranberries, salmonberries, crowberries, cloudberries (also known as salmonberry in Alaska), and blueberries, fish, tundra greens, or roots with animal oil or fat. It may also include whitefish, caribou tallow, moose tallow, walrus tallow, or seal oil. There is also a kind of akutaq which is called snow akutaq.

9- Bumbleberry pie
Bumbleberry pie

Bumbleberry pie is a Canadian mixed berry pie originating from the Maritimes. It is made of at least three kinds of berries, but generally refers to a mixed-berry pie, as there is no such berry as a "bumbleberry". This pie often also contains apple and/or rhubarb. Berries commonly used in this pie may include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

10- Butter tart
Butter tart

A butter tart is a type of small pastry tart highly regarded in Canadian cuisine and considered one of Canada's quintessential treats. The sweet tart consists of a filling of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg, baked in a pastry shell until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top. The butter tart should not be confused with butter pie (a savoury pie from the Preston area of Lancashire, England) or with bread and butter pudding.

Recipes for the butter tart vary according to the families baking them. Because of this, the appearance and physical characteristics of the butter tart – the firmness of its pastry, or the consistency of its filling – also vary.

11- Date squares
Date squares

A date square is a Canadian dessert or coffee accompaniment made of cooked dates with an oatmeal crumb topping. In Western Canada it is known as Matrimonial Cake. In Eastern Canada and Newfoundland it might also be known as Date Crumbles . It is often found in coffee shops as a sweet snack food. There can be nuts added to the base layer or crumb topping, or other alterations. There can be candied peel added to the date stuffing for a contrasting texture.

12- Flapper pie
Flapper pie

Flapper pie is a vanilla custard pie topped with meringue (or sometimes whipped cream in South Saskatchewan). The Graham cracker cream pie dates back to the 19th century but entered Western Canadian pop culture in the 20th century as flapper pie.

The pie is a staple of the Canadian prairie culture. At the Salisbury House chain of restaurants in Winnipeg, it is sold as "wafer pie."

13- Nanaimo bar
Nanaimo bar

The Nanaimo bar is a dessert item of Canadian origin. It is a bar dessert which requires no baking and is named after the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. It consists of three layers: a wafer and coconut crumb-base, custard flavoured butter icing in the middle and a layer of chocolate ganache on top. Many varieties exist, consisting of different types of crumb, different flavours of icing (e.g., mint, peanut butter, coconut, mocha), and different types of chocolate.

14- Persian Roll
Persian Roll

A Persian is an oval-shaped, cinnamon-bun-like sweet roll with a sweet, pink icing made of either raspberries or strawberries. More recently other color icings have been used as well, however the vast majority still use the pink icing. It is credited to have originated at Bennett's Bakery and remains particular to the former city of Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada. The city is now known as Thunder Bay after its amalgamation with Fort William in 1970. It is sometimes confused with a Pershing or a Persian bun which are regional items in parts of the United States but are a completely different baked good made with doughnut batter as opposed to being a sweet roll.

Hot Fried with butter is an alternate, sweeter way to enjoy the Persian. This is prepared by splitting the Persian (similar to how one would cut a bagel). Butter is generously applied and set in a frying pan. The icing is shared to cover the top of both pieces being fried and is allowed to melt and crystallize while the buttered side is fried to golden brown. It is served hot.

15- Pets de sœurs
Pets de sœurs

Pets de sœur, sometimes euphemistically translated as nun's pastries or brown sugar rolls, are French-Canadian pastries filled with butter and brown sugar which are rolled, sliced and then baked.

Although they are filled with cinnamon and butter, like cinnamon rolls or buns, they are made with pastry rather than yeast (risen bread).

16- Pouding chômeur
Pouding chômeur

The pouding chômeur is a basic cake batter onto which a hot syrup or caramel is poured before baking. The cake then rises through the liquid which settles at the bottom of the pan, mixing with the batter and creating a distinct layer at the bottom of the dish. The syrup or caramel can be made from brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup or a combination of these.

At the depth of the Depression, stale bread was also used in lieu of cake batter.

Pouding chômeur is a dessert that was created by female factory workers early during the Great Depression in Quebec, Canada.

Today, it is casually served as a regional dessert, perhaps being a bit more popular during the saison des sucres, when maple sap is collected and processed and is usually part of the offerings during a meal at a sugar shack, but it is not specifically a maple dessert.


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