Top Canadian Foods – The Best Canadian Foods You Must Try

From the far west coast of British Columbia to the east coast of New Brunswick, from the prairies to the mountains, from the Maritimes to metropolitan Toronto and everything in between, Canada has a wide variety of climates, languages, religions, politics and more. Of course, the food!

As the second largest country in the world, Canada is home to hundreds of different cuisines and traditions. 

The 10 provinces and three northern regions each have their own signature dishes and ethnic influences. Here are 20 foods and ingredients that stand out as Canada’s most popular foods!

1. Butter Tarts

The first butter tart recipe in Canadian history dates back to 1900 – and has stood the test of time ever since. 

Although butter tarts have a few simple ingredients, there is always a heated debate in Canadian households over whether to include nuts or raisins.

Butter tarts can be found in home kitchens from coast to coast, with recipes often passed down from generation to generation, making the butter tart one of Canada’s most prolific desserts!

2. Montreal Smoked Meats

This kosher-style deli meat is a staple of Quebecois cuisine – you can’t go to Montreal without trying it!

Montreal smoked meat is cured meat, marinated in a spice mixture for over a week and then hot smoked. 

Although it is similar in flavor and texture to corned beef or pastrami, the processing and cut of the meat is very integral to Montreal smoked meat.

Usually served on rye bread with mustard and pickles, every sandwich lover should head to Schwartz’s Deli in downtown Montreal to try this delicacy.

3. Ketchup Chips

In England they   are called crisps   . In Canada, the wispy, fried potato chips are called chips and are often covered in ketchup! Ketchup chips are something you can only find in Canadian grocery stores and are as delicious as they sound.

They go with everyone’s favorite spice with tangy, slightly sweet, sour and tomato-y goodness!

4. Salmon

Since Canada is surrounded by water on three sides, you can imagine that seafood and fish are a big part of our expensive lives.

British Columbia is famous for its salmon, and Canadians love their cedar planked Pacific salmon. But it doesn’t stop there.

 In the Maritimes, sockeye salmon is popular and used in cold-smoked salmon, gravlax and salmon jerky … another Canadian delicacy!

5. Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo, BC is such a beautiful place that it has a dessert named after it! The original Nanaimo bars are recognizable by their base of coconut and nut wafers around a pale yellow custard center and a layer of chocolate ganache on top.

 But many renditions of this popular dessert have been attempted, including peanut butter, pistachio, mint and more.

6. Poutine

Another dish you can’t miss when you visit Quebec is poutine! Many would say this is   the most   popular Canadian dish and what’s not to love?

Fresh cut fries, piping hot gravy and melted cheese curds! A good poutine should have ‘cheese that squeaks’, indicating real cheese curds –  so integral to a good poutine. 

They eat this dish year-round and across Canada – at food trucks, greasy spoons, high-end restaurants, festivals, cafes and fast-food chains.

Although the ingredients of poutine generally remain the same (potatoes, brown gravy, and yogurt), chefs around the world have adapted the humble poutine to include things like lobster, oysters, curry, and more.

7. Timbit

Canadians eat over 1 billion donuts a year – which shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve driven through any major Canadian city since there’s a donut shop on nearly every city block.

The most popular of them is   Tim Hortons  – a household name! If you’re Canadian, you’ve no doubt walked through a Tim Horton’s drive-thru, tasted a double-double, known someone who worked at Tim Hortons, and probably ordered at least one box of Timbits. 

These classic donut holes come in chocolate, powdered sugar, honey dip, old fashioned and more and are a staple of Canadian culture.

8. Tour doors

Tourtéire is the name of this dish and also the name of the vessel in which it is made. Some version of Tourtéire is made across Canada, with different ingredients used depending on where you are. 

This meat pie is usually served on holidays and almost always has a double crust made of a savory, flaky pastry.

In Quebec, where it is most famous, it is usually made of pork, beef and/or veal with cloves and cinnamon.

 In Acadia, it is usually made with just pork, sometimes roasted in small, individual portions, and called petits cochons   (small pork).

9. Lake Fish

Canada is famous for its beautiful coastlines on both the east and west sides, but it is also home to several Great Lakes, most of which are located in southern Ontario. 

Yellow perch and pickerel are two of the most common fish in the Great Lakes, but up north there are many species fished year-round by ice fishing. 

Lake fish is sometimes salted, cured, or smoked, and is often found on patios, lightly battered or breaded, in the summer.

10. Pimal Bacon

William Davis, a Canadian pork packer from England, is credited with popularizing peameal bacon in Canada. 

Peameal gets its name because it was originally wrapped in yellow peas to extend its shelf life, although it is now almost exclusively rolled into cornmeal. 

A piemel sandwich on a dinner roll is a popular Canadian snack, especially in Toronto, Ontario.

11. Lobster Roll 

Lobster is to the east coast of Canada as cheeseburgers are to America. The Maritimes consists of four provinces, each with its own seafood industry. 

Prince Edward Island is famous for its lobster – often boiled or steamed in seawater and served on a crusty bun with butter or mayonnaise.

12. Muktuk

Among Inuit communities in northern Canada, muktuk is made from the blubber and skin of a bowhead or beluga whale, or sometimes a narwhal.

Muktuk is something that most Canadians have never tried, but if you live in the region or the northern part of the country, it’s a staple of your diet. 

Muktuk is often served raw, but sometimes fried and served with soy sauce.

13. Pizza 

While you might be surprised to see this Italian food on the list of popular Canadian foods, Canada has two claims to fame when it comes to pizza! First,   Hawaiian pizza   (pineapple, cheese and ham) was invented in Chatham, Ontario!

Plus, we have our very own pizza topping named after us: Canadian Pizza… featuring cheese, bacon, pepperoni and mushrooms!

14. Montreal Style Bagels

While it’s true that New York City is more famous for them, Montreal has definitely made a name for itself in the world of bagels!

Montreal-style bagels are smaller, thinner, and often denser than regular bagels, and sometimes sweeter. 

This is because they are often boiled in a water bath sweetened with honey or malt before baking, and then always baked in a wood fire oven (often in full view of the customer!), giving them a crispy outer crust.

15. Donair

A typical donair is made from shaved meat in a pita, with vegetables and some kind of zesty sauce. 

The East Coast Canada Donair, famous in Halifax, is made with a signature sweet sauce: garlic, vinegar, sugar and condensed milk! The dish is so popular in Nova Scotia, it has been named their official food since 2015.

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