Bannock and bacon being roasted over a fire.

Canadian Foods You Need to Try On Your Next Vacation

One of the things Canada is most known for is quirky, unique food dishes. Sure, everyone has heard of poutine and maple syrup, but there are so many other iconic dishes you need to try if you happen to find yourself in Canada during your next vacation. So without further ado, in no particular order, I have compiled a list of 25 classic Canadian foods you’ll want to add to your bucket list. Bon appetit!

Poutine

Two people eating poutine dishes on a picnic table.
@shannondidwhat

It’s no surprise that poutine is #1 on the list of Canadian foods you need to try. French fries covered in cheese curds and smothered in thick gravy makes the best combination for the perfect dream snack. This dish originated in Quebec in 1950 and is now considered the country’s national dish. In fact, you can pretty much find it at any fast food restaurant in Canada. Smokes Poutinerie has a huge menu with over 25 different versions of it!

The classic version is wonderful on its own, but toppings like buffalo chicken and pulled pork really knock it out of the park. So delicious, and so filling! Mmmm.

BeaverTails

Banana and Nutella Beavertail Pastry sprinkled with icing sugar.
@shalssh

BeaverTails are the absolute most delicious Canadian sweet snacks to ever exist. These deep fried dough treats resemble a real beaver tail and are often topped with chocolate, candy and fruit. It’s a traditional Canadian food that’s gooey, crispy and has a taste of true perfection. Popular flavours include Cinnamon Sugar, Bananarama, Strawberry Cheesecake, Oreo, Reeses Peanut Butter, Avalanche, Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, and Brownie.

This chain is popular all throughout Canada but are easy to find in the province of Quebec and parts of Ontario. No visit to the Great White North is complete without trying one of these babies!

Butter Tarts

Butter tart desserts made with pastry shells and a raisin filling.
@karyne.vileneuve

Butter tarts are an iconic Canadian dessert made with butter, sugar, syrup and eggs – filled in a buttery pastry shell and often includes raisins, nuts, caramel or chocolate. They can be runny or firm, so it’s hard to mess them up when you’re baking. It’s a treat that is so simple, yet so delicious! They never seem to go out of style, and you’ll find you are still craving one even after leaving the country.

Maple Syrup on pancakes

Pancakes topped with blueberries, bananas and maple syrup.
@nikldn

Maple syrup is a classic Canadian food that originated in Quebec. Quebec is the largest maple syrup producer in the world, with approximately 75 to 80 percent of the world’s supply. It’s a sweet syrup that is used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, donuts and fudge. Some people may even eat it on chicken wings! Maple bacon is also hugely popular in Canada. Just like the Franks Red Hot Sauce commercial says, we put that stuff on everything!

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars dessert made with chocolate, coconut, and vanilla custard filling.
@hostel world

These legendary no-bake Canadian treats originate from Nanaimo, British Columbia, and are usually made with graham-cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, vanilla custard filling and milk chocolate. You can now try these in all kinds of different flavours, but the traditional one is by far the best. Find a recipe for it here.

Montreal Style Bagels

Montreal STyle Bagel from St. Viateur Bakery.
@newna_o0o

Similar to New York bagels, but Montreal Style Bagels are often smaller in size and taste a little sweeter. They are usually boiled in water with honey and go great with a classic smoked salmon and cream cheese combo. Calorie wise, these bagels are equivalent to about 3 to 4 slices of bread, but you’ll want to eat more than just one.

The two most popular bagel shops in Montreal are St-Viateur Bakery and Fairmount Bagel.

Montreal Smoked Meat

Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich from Schwartz's Deli.
@eatingwithchu

Besides the bagels, another thing Montreal is well-known for is their kosher-style deli meat. It is very similar to pastrami, and is typically made by salting and curing beef brisket in spices for a week before being smoked and steamed to perfection. Best served on rye bread with mustard and sauerkraut.

Schwartz’s Deli restaurant has earned worldwide recognition for their smoked meat sandwiches and have been using the same recipes for decades. The restaurant is so popular that they have lineups outside the door every single day. So if you’ve never been, make sure to get there early. You don’t want to miss it!

Peameal Bacon

Peameal bacon and berry pie.
@cool.notcool

Peameal bacon, also known as “Canadian bacon”, is made from boneless pork loin, which is trimmed, wet cured and then rolled in cornmeal. It is popular to eat on breakfast sandwiches with egg and cheese, and also tastes great on burgers, too. It’s juicier than American-style bacon, but also leaner and higher in protein. Some might even say it’s more delicious.

Timbits & Double Double

A pack of Timbits and a Double Double coffee from Tim Hortons.

Timbits are basically what Americans call donut holes. Our Tim Hortons fast food chain has multiple flavours of timbits, including chocolate, birthday cake, sour cream glaze, honey dip, and old fashioned. The timbits go great with a classic Double Double, which is pretty much a coffee with two creams and two sugars. The perfect pairing for your early morning road trip.

Tourtiere

Toutiere pie on the right of the photo and a cup of coffee on the left.
@2foodphatgals

Tourtiere is a traditional spiced and savoury meat pie from Quebec, often made with ground pork, but can also be made with veal or beef. The only thing that doesn’t change is the thick, buttery crust. This French Canadian dish is usually prepared around Christmas time and is a holiday favourite, but it can be enjoyed all year-round. However, your chances of finding them at a bakery are pretty low, so you’ll have it make it yourself.

Saskatoon Berry Pie

Sakstoon Berry Pie served with vanilla ice cream on top.
@prairieberries

Saskatoon berries are originally from, you guessed it, Saskatoon, but you can also find them in the province of Alberta. They are a seasonal fruit and are usually ripe in June and July. These berries resemble blueberries but are often described as having a sweet, almond flavour, making it the ideal berry to use for the perfect pie. People will often top it with vanilla ice cream to make it extra tasty. Having a slice of this will change your life!

Halifax Donair

Halifax Donair made with beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic sauce and wrapped in a large flatbread.
@halifax donair

Halifax Donairs are a spin-off Canadian version of the Greek Gyro. They are typically made of spiced ground beef that has been shaped and pressed into a large loaf then rotated on a spit. It’s usually served on flatbread with onions, raw tomatoes and a sweet, garlic flavoured sauce. They are quite big in size so they are very filling, but they’re so yummy!

Lobster Rolls

Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls served with french fries on the side.
@neil conway

There are a lot of seafood lovers here in Canada, and in the maritime provinces, there are some pretty great seafood dishes. Lobster Rolls are a classic Canadian favourite, and they are especially popular in the province of Nova Scotia. Chopped up lobster meat, lemon, spices, mayo, green onion and romaine hearts served a hot dog bun. Delicious!

Ice wine

Frozen red grapes on the vine getting ready to ripen to make ice wine.
@TheWineBuzz

Canada is the world’s largest producer of ice wines, made from the juice of hand-picked vine-ripened frozen grapes. The grapes are left to freeze, thaw, and freeze on the vine, usually several times, then they are crushed while still frozen. The result is a wine that is fruity and very sweet, and it usually enjoyed as a dessert drink. Compared to regular grapes, these have a higher sugar content, which is why they are so sweet.

Ice wine is very popular in Ontario, especially in the Niagara region. Jackson Triggs and Inniskillin Winery are two great places to go if want to try samples or buy a bottle.

Caeser Cocktail

Classic Caeser cocktail garnised with lime, celery, breaded seafood and onion rings.
@newjenesis

It’s the ideal summer drink and the hair of the dog for when you’re hungover. The Caeser, Canada’s national cocktail, is essentially a Blood Mary cocktail but with clamato juice instead of tomato juice (think of it as a spicy tomato-clam juice). It is typically garnished with celery and lime in a celery-salt rimmed glass. You can get it at almost any restaurant and drink it with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Garlic Fingers

Garlic cheese fingers and donair dipping sauce on the side.
@MasterCook

Garlic fingers are a popular dish throughout Atlantic Canada. They are chewy, cheesy, pizza-like dish, served with a side of Halifax’s famous donair sauce or marinara. Similar to pizza in size and shape, but instead of being cut into triangular slices, they are cut into rectangular strips. They make a great appetizer and are also the perfect party snack. So good!

Bannock

Bannock and bacon being roasted over a fire.
@torebergengen

This simple, biscuit-like bread is similar to a Scottish flatbread or an Italian focaccia. It was once a key staple in the diets of Canadian Aboriginal people. Modern takes on Bannock include baked versions (which are heavy/dense) and fried versions (lighter, crispier and fluffier on the inside). Over the years it has gained huge popularity, with new variations popping up in bakeries and cafes all across the country. You have to try it!

Blueberry Grunt

A bowl of Blueberry Grunt topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
@Taste of Home

Similar to an English steamed pudding, cobbler-like Blueberry Grunt is a very popular dessert in the maritime provinces. This dish consists of homemade flour dumplings topped with wild blueberries and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It’s basically like a blueberry pie but without the crust!

Flapper Pie

Canadian Flapper Pie dessert served on a white plate.
@12 Tomatoes

Flapper pie looks very similar to lemon meringue pie. It dates back to the 19th century and is a true Canadian Prairie classic (the prairie provinces are Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). It’s essentially a graham crust pie with a creamy custard filling, then topped with meringue or whipped cream. Doesn’t that sound mouth-watering?

Rappie Pie

Rappie Pie dish made with grated potatoes, broth, onions and meat.
@Yarmouth and Acadian Shores

Rappie pie is very common in the provinces of Nova Scotia as well as PEI. It’s a potato dish that is prepared by grating potatoes and straining them of liquid, then cooking them in meat broth, onions, and layering it with chicken, beef, or clams. Yum!

Swiss Chalet Sauce

Swiss Chalet quarter chicken dinner with fries, a dinner roll, and the famous Chalet dipping sauce.
@RedFlagDeals.com

The Canadian chain restaurant Swiss Chalet is famous for their rotisserie chicken, ribs and Chalet sauce. The most popular dish on the menu is the Quarter Chicken Dinner, which includes a roasted chicken leg or breast with the chalet sauce, a bread roll and a side dish – usually mashed potatoes or fries. It’s so good that Lay’s even created Chalet sauce flavoured potato chips. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, eating Chalet sauce flavoured chips sounds weird, but don’t knock it until you try it!

Canadian Pizza

A Canadian pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni and bacon.
@SWSE

Almost everyone can agree that Hawaiian pizza is great, but can we brag about Canadian pizza for a second? A Canadian pizza is topped with bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms. It’s hands down one of the best combinations of toppings to put on your pizza. Pair it with a creamy garlic sauce for dipping and it tastes even better. Try it, it’s awesome!

Kraft Dinner

A bowl of Canadian cheddar Kraft Dinner.
@Yummy Mummy Club

Kraft Dinner is a classic childhood food that you can never get sick of. It’s the Canadian version of macaroni and cheese, and they have tons of different flavours including sharp cheddar, white cheddar, three cheese, sharp cheddar, spirals, spicy and extra creamy. They even have a version with cauliflower noodles to make it slightly “healthier”. Some people will put top it with ketchup or pepper, but it’s still wonderful on it’s own.

Ketchup & All Dressed Chips

A photo of Ruffle's All Dressed Chips , Humpty Dumpty and Old Dutch.
@Thrillist

God only knows why Canadians love Ketchup chips so much, but they do. Another favourite flavour is the Ruffle’s All Dressed, which is a combination of salt and vinegar, ketchup and a BBQ all in one chip. Sounds weird I know, but they’re surprisingly delicious. It’s hard not to eat a whole bag in a sitting.

Canadian Apples

Fruit blossom desserts from Chudleigh's Apple Farm.
@strategy

To some, apples are just a simple food, but here in Canada they are the best! Some of the popular varieties are McIntosh, Cortland, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious. Canada also has a lot of popular apple picking farms, including Chudleigh’s in Milton, Ontario! Chudleigh’s has a store full of delicious baked goods, sweet apple cider, and fruit spreads. They have a large variety of items to choose from, so if you make a visit to their store, there is no doubt that you’ll be walking out with a basket full of goodies.

Well, there you have it folks. This concludes the list of the top 25 classic Canadian foods. Make sure to stock up on each of these foods next time you decide to venture up north. Canada is filled with delicious foods you need to try at least once in your life.

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