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25 of the best Canadian foods you HAVE to try

Maple syrup - Canadian food

Canada is known for a lot of amazing things, but cuisine? Not so much. Canadian food has been unfairly subject to ridicule or just plain ignorance for years, and it’s time for the slander to stop. Besides, it’s cold up here for a good portion of the year, so all of our best foods are comfort foods. How can you go wrong?

Canadian dishes are delicious, and if you haven’t tried them yet, or maybe you’ve visited us without trying ALL of the below, you’ve missed out. Sorry. Come for a trip to the Great White North and try these 25 tasty and iconic Canadian treats for yourself.

25. Salmon Jerky

Why have beef jerky, when you can take your omega 3s on the go instead? Salmon is a staple Canadian food, and turning it into smoked jerky is the convenient and versatile snack you never knew you needed. Try it flavoured with teriyaki, hot sauce, maple or peppered.


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24. Canadian pizza

Everyone agrees there’s a need for a Hawaiian pizza. But the classic Canadian pizza is pepperoni, bacon and mushrooms, and who can object to that? Try it, it’s a great combo.

23. Ice wine

Remember that cold weather we talked about? It’s the key ingredient in creating ice wine. The sweet dessert wine is made from frozen grapes, which Canada is world-famous for. It’s super sweet, hard to make and a source of Canadian pride nationwide. 

22. Bagged milk

So yeah, in Canada we drink milk out of a clear plastic bag, stored in a reusable pitcher in the fridge. It IS a strange experience that should have been replaced by cartons or jugs years ago, but some say it tastes fresher this way! 

In summary, it’s just a weird Canadian thing you’ve gotta try. And the experience isn’t truly complete until you’ve perfected cutting the perfect sized spout hole in a milk bag.

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21. Saskatoon berry pie

Saskatoon is not only a city in Canada, it’s also the Cree word for a specific sweet Canadian berry – the crucial and unique element in this pie. Saskatoon berries are sort of like a hybrid blueberry/apple and are an awesome superfood. You’ll likely find this pie in the Prairies of Canada.

20. Crown Royal

The Canadian whisky that comes in a fancy purple velvet bag is smooth and easy to drink. Plus it’s actually affordable and a quintessential part of many Canadians’ introduction to hard liquor. Crown Royal has somehow become popular in the USA and other parts of the world as well, and although it’s a good drink, we’re betting a lot of it has to do with the velvet bag.

19. Donair

The East Coast of Canada is famous for many things, but this late-night food might be one of the tastiest of all. Essentially a pita filled with shaved beef, onions, tomatoes and special sauce, donair is the pride and joy of Halifax and is a Canadian take on a gyro.


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18. BeaverTails

This snack literally resembles a beaver tail. This donut-pizza crossbreed takes a ‘bannock’ (see number 15), makes it sweet and covers it in whatever delightful dessert toppings your heart desires. Popular options include Nutella, cinnamon sugar and various crushed-up candy bars and icing combos. It’s messy and delightful regardless.


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17. Ketchup chips

Canadians love ketchup. There is NO better condiment in our opinion, and there isn’t much that we won’t put it on. So, to make ketchup-flavoured chips was a no-brainer. Do they really taste like ketchup though? That’s questionable. But they’re a unique, sweet yet vinegary chip that will leave your fingers red, indefinitely.


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16. Maple syrup

It’s one of our biggest exports, and seeing as we produce most of the maple syrup worldwide, both you and your pancakes can thank us for eternity. Try it on pretty much any breakfast food, incorporated into baked goods or in taffy / fudge / lollipop form. 


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15. Bannock

This delicious flat bread is a significant part of indigenous culture and cuisine in Canada. It can be eaten plain or topped with sweet or savoury toppings, but it dates back to the 18th century and became popular due to its filling nature and how easy it is to transport in the wilderness.

14. Coffee Crisp

It may seem like a weird choice for a Canadian chocolate bar, but Coffee Crisp is a coffee-flavoured, wafer-filled treat. It’s the bar that a lot of parents go for when it’s left at the bottom of the candy bag after trick-or-treating. Enough said.


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13. Tourtière

Few foods are as comforting as a meat pie, and the French-Canadian tourtière is an elite variation. It’s essentially minced meats and potatoes in a pie shell. And it’s exactly what we want for dinner on a cold winter’s night in Canada.

12. All-dressed chips

All-dressed chips are similar to the concept of combining every type of pop or soda at a kids’ birthday party to create swamp water. This uniquely Canadian flavour is a combination of sour cream and onion, barbecue, salt and vinegar and ketchup – all in one chip! They’re salty and sweet and savoury all at the same time, with a tangy flavour that is unlike any chip outside of Canada.

11. Nanaimo bars

Dessert squares are a beloved-yet-underrated food group, hands down. Nanaimo bars specifically are a combo of a coconutty crust, custard middle layer and chocolate ganache top. They’re simple, sweet and truly beloved in every Canadian bakery or coffee shop.


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10. Canada Dry

Is there any other acceptable brand of ginger ale? We think not. It’s the perfect balance of ginger spice and soda sweetness, and one of the best soft drinks in the universe.

9. Chalet sauce

Swiss Chalet is a beloved and affordable family chain restaurant in Canada that’s famous for its rotisserie chicken. But the real shining star is the sauce you dip your chicken and fries in. It’s not gravy, it’s better. It’s so good some of us drink it on its own. And like ketchup, it makes most things in Canada taste even better, too.


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8. Lobster rolls

A Nova Scotia specialty, this delicious meal puts fresh Maritime lobster meat on a hotdog bun and creates a boss of a sandwich made for seafood lovers. Lobster is a top-tier food but is hard to eat at the best of times, so why not make it easy to munch?

7. Montreal bagel

A Montreal bagel is like a regular bagel, but just better in EVERY way. Baked in a wood-fire oven, they’re denser, thinner, sweeter and again, just better than a regular (ahem, New York) bagel. And the perfect vessel for any topping.


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6. Caesar cocktail

Okay, hear us out. The combination of vodka, tomato juice, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce may sound like the absolute LAST thing you’d ever want to drink, it somehow works. And now it’s Canada’s national cocktail. It’s definitely not for everyone, but the elaborate garnishes are enough to make you order one at least once in your life.


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5. Timbits

Coffee shop chain Tim Hortons is one of the most iconic Canadian brands ever. It’s the reason that ‘donut holes’ don’t exist in Canada – and instead they’re called ‘timbits’. Everyone has their favourite and least favourite flavour, but you can bet that any potluck, work meeting or road trip in Canada will include some timbits. Best consumed with a coffee, try chocolate-glazed, birthday cake and sour-cream glazed for (arguably) the best of the bunch.


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4. Montreal smoked meat

As far as lunch meats go, there’s no comparison to this Canadian classic. Essentially, a form of spiced and sliced brisket, the Montreal spice really makes this a sandwich above all others. A good Montreal smoked meat sandwich will be piled inches high on rye bread with mustard. A fork is definitely needed to eat the pieces that will inevitably fall out as you try to conquer this meat monster. But trust us, it’s worth the mess.


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3. Peameal bacon

Also known as Canadian bacon, peameal bacon is lean, flavourful, thick-cut, and the star of many an Eggs Benedict. You can eat it in place of regular bacon for breakfast or on a bun in sandwich form, which is an absolutely delicious meaty experience.

2. Butter tarts

Perfect for sweet tooths, butter tarts are basically a sugar pie or a pecan pie without the pecans. Flaky pastry with a sickly buttery, sugary filling; they’re a Canadian essential and a tiny personal-sized bit of pie heaven.


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1. Poutine

The crowning jewel of Canadian cuisine. The perfect savoury food combo. And arguably the best late-night eat you’ll ever find. Fries, cheese and gravy. Poutine is our proudest culinary invention and is hands-down the most sought-after local speciality by tourists.

But beware, not all poutine is created equal. To get the best of the best, ensure the fries are fresh cut and not frozen; the cheese is in real cheese curd form and not shredded; and the gravy is dark and beefy. And you can skip the extra toppings, because if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it with unnecessary meats and other things. Consider yourself educated.


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