Five Iconic Canadian Foods (& Where To Eat Them)


There are many reasons why Canada is one of the world’s best places to travel, like gorgeous national parks, sprawling landscapes, incredible wildlife, rich culture, friendly people and diverse food and drink traditions. Before you can taste such delights that Canada has to offer, you should learn about 5 of the most iconic Canadian foods, and where to eat them.

Canadian poutine is a dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy.

Planning a trip to Canada

If you’re a foodie like me, then you know there is no beating visiting a new country and indulging in the local cuisine while you are there. Of course, if you are planning a trip to Canada there are a few other things you need to remember.

The first is that Canada experiences clear seasons and the weather to go along with it, this means you need to make sure you pack the right kind of clothes for your trip, else you’ll be so uncomfortable that you won’t be focusing on the flavour of the amazing food at all.

Canadian flag in Vancouver, BC, Canada

The second is that, contrary to popular belief, many people don’t need to get a visa when traveling to Canada, this is because numerous countries come under the visa-exempt scheme. Something that means if you are traveling from one of them to Canada all you need is your passport along with an eTA. All you need to do is visit Canada eTAs website to find out more about how these work and how to apply for one. The good news is that they are faster and cheaper than needing to get a visa, so if your home country means you are eligible for an ETA, planning your Canadian food adventure just got a whole lot easier.

Next, do forget that as such a massive country, there is plenty of wilderness to explore when visiting Canada. However, you should do any exploring with an experienced and qualified guide, as the wildlife and terrain in many places can pose more than a present risk to life!

Banff National Park in BC, Canada

Banff National Park in winter

Last, of all, make sure that you don’t get caught out by Canada’s sales tax and tipping customs. Indeed, tipping is expected for food servers, bar people, as well as other service industries such as Taxi drivers. Around 20% is the norm. That is of course in addition to both the local and national sales tax that will be added to your purchases. This tax is not displayed on menus or price tags either, and just to make things more difficult differs from province to province, so be sure to account for it in your budgeting!

Red wine in Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Drinking local wine in Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Five Iconic Canadian Foods (& Where To Eat Them)

Now, let’s talk about the thing we love: food! There are many ingredients and foods that are quintessentially Canadian and are a must try during any visit to this gorgeous country. First and foremost, maple syrup. One thing I discovered when I visited Vancouver in British Columbia is that maple syrup is everywhere. For example, it can be used to flavour things chocolate truffles, popcorn, cookies, cakes and also savoury dishes. The maple leaf is Canada’s national symbol after all!

Maple syrup selection at a supermarket in Vancouver, Canada

1. Hidden Goldmine Bakery (Madoc, Ontario) Butter Tarts

All pastry fans will enjoy indulging in a Canadian butter tart, what with their delicately flaky pastry crusts stuffed full of a gooey sweet, rich filling made from butter, eggs, and sugar.

However, the butter tart connoisseur will want to make a beeline for the Hidden Goldmine Bakery located in Madoc, Ontario. Indeed, those willing to order 24 hours in advance will be rewarded with either 6 regular size tarts or 12 mini ones. The Hidden Goldmine Bakery also does a great line in other types of tarts using maple cream, and coconut raspberries as well.

2. The Savvy Sailor (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia) Lobster Rolls

Seafood is a big deal in Canada and for the most part, you can expect it to be fresh, and delicious. Indeed, one of the most iconic foods to sample on your trip is the delicious lobster roll and the very best place in the whole country (according to many) is the Savvy Sailor cafe.

After all, not only is their lobster fresh, but they tend to pack plenty into the toasted rolls they serve. Not to mention that it’s a mere stone’s throw to the shore from the cafe, something that makes grabbing a takeaway and eating it in the salty air overlooking the ocean a must!

Lobster roll

3. Bocca Cafe (Nanaimo, BC), Nanaimo Bars

While it is true that you can get these delicious sweet treats in many places throughout Canada, the very best place to sample them is, of course, Nanaimo, British Columbia, the city that they were named after.

In particular, Bocca Cafe seems to attract national and international Nanaimo fans alike with their large selection of both the traditional nanaimo bars (three layers of chocolate, crumb, and custard) and more modern twists (such as Matcha Green Tea). The shiplap style of the building and the outdoor seating also make this spot the perfect haunt for Nanaimo bar and coffee lovers alike. 

Canadian Nanaimo Bars

4. BeaverTails (Ottawa, Canada), Beavertails

Few people from outside of Canada know quite what to expect when the term beavertail is mentioned. However, the sweet treat that bears this name is one that you will not want to miss. The name beavertail comes from the shape of the flat donut-like pastry that forms the foundation of this dish. This sweet, surgery treat is then finished off with a range of toppings from cinnamon sugar and stewed apples, to Nutella and banana and even peanut butter or cheesecake spread.

The official Beavertails franchise located in Ottawa offers a range of topping to including Reese’s pieces, crushed Oreos, and Skor. The beavertail is usually served warm as well, which makes it the perfect pick me up to have alongside a good cup of coffee on a cold Ottawa morning.

5. La Banquise (Montreal, Quebec), Poutine

Last, but certainly not least we have the globally famous Canadian dish poutine. Of course, with such an obviously french sounding name, you would expect the best place to sample this dish would be in Quebec. Indeed, it is in Montreal to be precise where you can visit La Banquise and try what many have called the best Poutine in Canada!

The classic version of poutine consists of hand-cut french fries topped with savory gravy and the all-important cheese curds. However, the poutine magic doesn’t stop there as there are over 30 different variations to try including La Boogalou with pulled pork, creamy coleslaw, and sour cream, and The Festival with minced steak, Swiss cheese, hot peppers, and onion rings. There are fully vegan version too. If you are feeling fancy, you can swap out the regular cheese curds for mozzarella, feta, or goats cheese. Any version of poutine sounds yum to me!

Canadian poutine is a dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy.

So, are you ready to visit Canada yet and try all these epic Canadian dishes I’ve told you about?

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.

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