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34 Uniquely Canadian Foods (Other Than Poutine)

34 uniquely Canadian foods (other than poutine)

Tomorrow marks Canada’s 148th birthday. That’s pretty young as far as countries go, but it doesn’t mean the Great White North is short on food culture.

You’ve heard of poutine and maple syrup, but what about Nanaimo bars, ketchup chips or beaver tails? (Relax, it’s just a dessert!) There are tons of dishes, brands and products beyond the obvious that are just as—if not more so—quintessentially Canadian as those well known staples.

In honour of Canada Day, here is a list of 34 uniquely (for the most part) Canadian foods you should know. Sounds pretty delicious, eh?

Sweet:

1.   Maple syrup

2.   Beaver tails – fried dough dusted with sugar

3.   Nanaimo bars – a no-bake dessert square with custard and chocolate layers

4.   La tire – maple taffy, traditionally poured over snow

5.   Butter tarts – mini pastry shells filled with a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and sometimes raisins

6.   Sugar pie – similar to butter tarts but full-size and filled with butter, cream, sugar and/or maple syrup

7.   Date squares – dessert squares made with dates and an oatmeal crumble topping

8.   Saskatoon berries – a nutritious, tasty berry reminiscent of blueberries

Savoury:

9.   Cheese curds

10.   Poutine (let’s face it – this list wouldn’t be complete without it!)

11.   Peameal bacon, a.k.a. “Canadian” bacon

12.   Bannock – a traditional aboriginal fried bread

13.   Potato chip flavours – ketchup, all-dressed and dill pickle

14.   Moose, bear, partridge and other game meats

15.   Montreal-style bagels

16.   Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches

17.   Pemmican – a traditional aboriginal mixture of dried meat, fat and berries – like an early energy bar!

18.   Tourtière – meat pie

Drinks:

19.   Ice wine – a sweet dessert wine made from frozen grapes

20.   Beer (I know, not unique to Canada, but beer is as Canadian as hockey so it deserves a spot on the list!)

21.   Canada Dry ginger ale

22.   The classic Caesar cocktail

23.   Crown Royal – Canadian whisky (remember those purple velvet bags they came in?)

24.   Canadian Club – another Canadian whisky

Brands and restaurants:

25.   Tim Horton’s

26.   Hostess potato chips

27.   Habitant canned pea soup

28.   E.D. Smith jams and jellies

29.   McCain foods (most notably French fries)

30.   Laura Secord chocolates and ice cream

31.   Glossettes – chocolate-covered raisins and peanuts

32.   Cherry Blossoms – an individually-wrapped chocolate-covered maraschino cherry

33.  Kraft Dinner – it’s what us Canucks call Kraft brand macaroni and cheese

34.   A bunch of different chocolate bars – Coffee Crisp, Eat-More, Aero, Caramilk, Jersey Milk, Mr. Big, Crispy Crunch, Smarties.  Hard to believe Americans don’t have these!

Anything missing from this list?  What’s your favourite Canadian food?

Note: While this list is based on my own experience as a born and bred Canadian, it has not been checked for accuracy. It’s also not exhaustive, so if I missed anything please leave a comment!

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{ 43 comments… add one }

  • Julia (@Imagelicious) July 1, 2015, 10:37 am

    Great list! I didn’t know about some of them being Canadian and haven’t even heard of some others!

  • Peggy March 2, 2016, 1:06 am

    ahhhh! It’s good to be Canadian!!

  • Louise April 23, 2016, 5:06 am

    No mention of pouding chaumeur ( poor-man’s puding) . I imagine every french canadian knows it.

  • Jane April 23, 2016, 9:34 pm

    Hawkins Cheesies.

  • Laura May 3, 2016, 10:21 pm

    What about Old Dutch Ketchup chips?!? The Best chips! And of course the old stand by……Salt & Vinegar chips!!! Yum!!

  • Andrea May 22, 2016, 11:01 am

    Perogies & pickeral

  • Michelle May 27, 2016, 7:35 am

    Being a Canadian living in the U.S., Shreddies, Hickory Sticks and Goodhost iced tea are what I miss most. Also, there are different “recipes” used for things like Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup and Lipton’s Chicken Noodle soup. My daughter can actually tell the difference just by how they smell during cooking. I had a friend who used to bring mushroom soup back from Canada with her because it just tasted better than the American version.

  • Rose June 30, 2016, 5:48 pm

    Your list is fun to read! When I lived in the US I missed buying VH plum sauce and President’s Choice products, especially Szechwan sauce.

  • Marjorie July 12, 2016, 6:21 pm

    The date squares are called in Manitoba matrimony cake, you use it as bait under a hockey net propped with a hockey stick with a string attached to zcatch a man … Ok I know it’s a sexist joke but the name is correct

  • Vicky August 9, 2016, 11:41 am

    As a child of Canadian parents, living in the US, you missed a bunch of things! Cretons ( a pork spread for crackers), Miami , Caramel, and Mille Feilles cakes (their version of Hostess snack cakes), their bologna and sausages too have their own distinct flavor! I make a HUGE grocery list for my parents whenever they tell me they’re heading back to visit family.

  • chelsie o September 5, 2016, 7:52 pm

    Great list! All dressed chips is also a Canadian thing, as well as putting ketchup and/or pepper on our kd.

  • Barb January 30, 2017, 3:47 pm

    Smarties

  • Sheila Stevens February 6, 2017, 1:32 pm

    What about donair’s & rappie pie.

  • Sheila Stevens February 6, 2017, 1:33 pm

    What about donair’s & rappie pie. Creamed lobster.

  • Janice April 30, 2017, 8:20 pm

    Flapper Pie and HP steak sauce!

  • Judy Mierau May 3, 2017, 6:39 am

    Roger’s Golden Syrup

  • raisha May 23, 2017, 9:22 pm

    liver and onions or hot beef sandwich, and rice pudding…. can you tell I eat with seniors at family restaurants.. lol

  • KIm May 29, 2017, 8:55 am

    Shreddies! Also Campbell’s tomato rice soup is totally different from the US tomato rice soup. Swiss Chalet chicken!

  • Karen May 31, 2017, 2:16 pm

    Schmoo torte,a layer cake ,Manitoba origin,maybe Mennonite.Often at nice tea houses.

  • Susan June 16, 2017, 7:03 pm

    Licorice Allsorts. Americans don’t know what they are missing.

  • michelle June 18, 2017, 11:12 pm

    popcorn twists are distinctly Canadian

  • shannon June 20, 2017, 11:14 pm

    Kinder surprise eggs!!

  • Cathy June 21, 2017, 12:03 pm

    And how about adding any of our coolers – Bacardi Breezers, Smirnoff Ice, etc – to this list. Ours are made with actual rum or vodka, unlike the American versions which are all made with “malt liquor” whatever that is. We have to bring our own coolers from home when travelling to Florida as the American ones are unpalatable in our opinion.

  • Jennifer June 21, 2017, 4:03 pm

    fish cakes with chowchow

  • Jane June 21, 2017, 7:36 pm

    Six pailles – 7 meats layered pie baked in a casserole
    Six pates – 7 layers of berries each separated by a thin crust
    Many chocolates that we have in Canada and not in the USA are UK bars (Cadbury)

    Red Rose tea … only in Canada eh … pity .

  • Jane June 21, 2017, 7:38 pm

    Applejacks … apple cinnamon pastry only in Winnipeg and the recipe is a secret

  • Crystal June 28, 2017, 10:11 am

    man oh man do I love me some fried dough. Call it bannock beaver tail or fry bread it taste or smochkella like we did as kids when my German decent granny made it. It’s everything our brain loves and body doesn’t need lol
    BUT Bannock is from Scotland. Traditional only back tens of years to colonialism. Not the THOUSANDS like the peoples and customs have been on this land.
    The fact that this is such a wide spread miss understanding by both settlers and First Peoples is simple proof of how effective assimilation was/is.
    Canada is a beautiful place made up of wonderful cultures. 2017 it’s time to learn about the whole truth reconcile and respect. One small step at a time

  • Gail June 30, 2017, 11:53 pm

    No mention of Smarties .. life savers .. or macintosh toffee :((( I miss Canada !!!

  • Val R July 1, 2017, 2:25 am

    Although not alluring. Pablum is truly Canadian, what would our Babies do without it, lol😉

  • Paula July 3, 2017, 6:19 am

    King Cole tea! Unfortunately can’t buy in US

  • Donna July 3, 2017, 7:38 pm

    How about french fries with vinegar?

  • Wendy July 8, 2017, 2:11 am

    Thunder Bay persians. Pink icing topped cinamon donut that tastes different when eaten raw or fried. Also bon bons. Breaded ribs sold at chinese restaurants rhat actually arent even chinese and only sold here.

  • Debra July 8, 2017, 4:21 pm

    Canada was selected as our International Christmas this year. Could you recommend a few main dishes, a vegetable & a dessert that would be served for Christmas?

    • Jennifer Andrews October 4, 2017, 5:15 pm

      Apologies for the late reply! A good main would be French Canadian tourtiere (meat pie). Nothing particularly Canadian stands out in my mind for sides, but desserts could include nanaimo bars, butter tarts or sugar pie! Enjoy :)

  • Julie July 24, 2017, 12:20 pm

    My brother moved to the USA and I have to either bring them to him, or have them ready for him when he arrives: Old Dutch ketchup chips, Pizza Pops (the US only has pizza pockets – not the same), Lime Crush, French’s ketchup, MacIntosh’s Toffee

  • Penny Hanuszak July 29, 2017, 7:19 pm

    We snowbird in the US and before leaving Canada we load up on Hawkins Cheesies, Red Hamburger Relish (used to be Bicks before Smuckers took over and stopped making it, now we use Strubs (made in Quebec and sold in Great Canadian Super Store), Mint Jelly (Americans put apple in theirs), Crunchie Chocolate Bars.

  • Heather Campbell August 15, 2017, 8:33 am

    What about : fresh picked lightly steamed fiddleheads from New Brunswick or dulse from the Bay of Fundy?!

  • JL September 8, 2017, 2:04 am

    Oh Henry

    Swiss Chalet

  • Nancy July 3, 2018, 5:09 pm

    For reasons unknown, Kraft peanut butter is not sold in the U.S – my friend always takes her brother a jar when she goes to Seattle.

  • Nancy July 3, 2018, 5:13 pm

    Sorry – forgot to add Zesty Cheese flavour Doritos!

  • Debbie July 5, 2018, 8:10 pm

    Sweet Marie Bars

  • angora August 8, 2018, 6:49 pm

    Flapper pie

  • Harry August 10, 2018, 7:29 pm

    You need to add one thing! Original Kinder Surprise Eggs! Kinder Joy just isn’t the same, not the mention that Kinder Eggs are banned in the USA (I believe)

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