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Cuisine of Canada

Canadian cuisine varies widely from region to region. Generally, the traditional cuisine of English Canada is closely related to British and American cuisine, while the traditional cuisine of French Canada has evolved from French cuisine and the winter provisions of fur traders.

The basis of both groups is traditionally on seasonal, fresh ingredients, and preserves. The cuisine includes a lot of baked foods, wild game, and gathered foods. Prepared foods were still a novelty for recent rural generations, so there are some that are well-loved to the point of obsession -- and which have come to dominate suburban diets. However, home-made, warming, and wholesome remain key adjectives in what Canadians consider their cuisine.

The cuisine of the western provinces is heavily influenced by German, Ukrainian, Polish, and Scandinavian cuisine. Noteworthy is the cuisine of the Doukhobors: Russian-descended vegetarians.

Canadian Chinese cuisine is widespread across the country, with variation from place to place. The Chinese smorgasbord, although found in the U.S. and other parts of Canada, had its origins in early Gastown, Vancouver, c.1870 and came out of the practice of the many Scandinavians' working in the woods and mills around the shantytown getting the Chinese cook to put out a steam table on a sideboard, so they could "load up" and leave room on the dining table (presumably for "drink").

The traditional cuisine of The Arctic and the Canadian Territories is based on wild game and Inuit and First Nations cooking methods. The cuisines of Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces derive mainly from British and Irish cooking, with a preference for salt-cured fish, beef, and pork. British Columbia also maintains British cuisine traditions.

Today many Canadians will identify foods as being uniquely "Canadian" largely on the basis of such items being uncommon in the United States. Foods enjoyed in both countries, such as fast food and popular restaurant cuisine, will often be described as simply "North American" dining.

Modern adaptations

Modern Canadian cooking represents these diverse origins, as well as the many other immigrant cultures that have made the country their home. As such, most home cooks in Canada have assimilated new ingredients and recipes from around the world into the more traditional favourites.

At the forefront of Canadian cuisine is the fusion of modern culinary techniques and uniquely Canadian ingredients, such as wild blueberries and saskatoon berries, fiddleheads (fiddlehead ferns, fiddlehead greens), mussels, caribou, bison, salmon, wild rice, maple syrup, and locally produced wine and ice wine, beer, and cheeses.

List of Canadian foods

Savoury foods

Wild game

Wild game of all sorts are still hunted and eaten by many Canadians, though not commonly in urban centres. Venison is eaten across the country and is considered quite important to many First Nations cultures. Seal meat is eaten, particularly in the Canadian North, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Wild fowl like partridge and ptarmigan are also regularly hunted.

Other animals like bear and beaver may be eaten by dedicated hunters or indigenous people, but are not generally consumed by much of the population.



Prepared food & beverages


Street food

While most major cities in Canada (other than Montreal, due to local by-laws) offer a variety of street food, regional "specialties" are notable. While poutine is available in most of the country, it is far more common in Quebec. Similarly, hot dog stands can be found across Canada, but are far more common in Ontario (often sold from mobile canteen trucks, usually referred to as "chip stands") than in Vancouver or Victoria (where the "Mr. Tube Steak" franchise is notable). Montreal offers a number of specialties including Shish taouk, the Montreal hot dog, and Dollar falafels. Although falafel is widespread in Vancouver, 99 cent pizza slices are much more popular. Shawarma is quite prevalent in Ottawa, while Halifax offers its own unique version of the Döner kebab called the Donair, which features a distinctive sauce made from condensed milk, sugar, and vinegar. Ice cream trucks can be seen (and often heard due to a jingle being broadcast on loudspeakers) nationwide during the summer months.


  • Chinese Smorgasbord: though found in the U.S. and other parts of Canada, this term and concept had its origins in early Gastown, Vancouver, c.1870 and resulted from the many Scandinavians working in the woods and mills around the shantytown getting the Chinese cook to put out a steam table on a sideboard, so they could "load up" and leave room on the dining table (presumably for "drink").
  • Lumberjack's Breakfast, aka Logger's Breakfast: a gargantuan breakfast of three-plus eggs; rations of ham, bacon and sausages; plus several large pancakes. Invented by hotelier J. Houston c 1870, at his Granville Hotel on Water Street in old pre-railway Gastown, Vancouver, in response to requests from his clientele for a better "feed" at the start of a long, hard day of work.
  • Jigg's dinner: A traditional meal from Newfoundland incorporating salt beef, cooked cabbage, papri and homemade peas pudding.
  • Fish and brewis or Fisherman's brewis: Another Newfoundland favourite, with salt cod and hardtack.
  • Rappie pie: A traditional Acadian dish from Nova Scotia.

See also

External links

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