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 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
- Beans and toast; baked beans served on or alongside toasted, sliced bread
- Wild Chanterelle, Pine, Morel, Lobster, Puffball, and other mushrooms
- Fiddlehead greens (fiddleheads, fiddlehead ferns)
- Ginger beef, candied and deep fried, with sweet ginger sauce.
- Back or peameal bacon (called Canadian bacon in the US)
- Haddock and chips (often found at chip stands and in restaurants)
- Tourtière and pâté à la râpure (Quebec meat pies).
- Montreal smoked meat
- Hearty breads (known as brown and white)
- Pâté chinois ("Chinese pie", Québécois shepherd's pie)
- Bannock, fry bread, and dough goods
- Bouilli, Québécois ham and vegetable harvest meal.
- Baked cream corn and peas
- Habitant yellow pea soup
- Roasted root vegetables
- Sauteed winter greens
- Oreilles de Christ
- Montreal-style bagels
- Sea vegetables
- Fèves au Lard
- Force meat
- Wild yams
- Wild rice
- Cheese curds
- Oka cheese
- Flipper pie
- Hot chicken / turkey sandwich
- Toutins, fried bread from Newfoundland
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
meat is eaten, particularly in the Canadian North
, the Maritimes
, and Newfoundland and Labrador
. Wild fowl like partridge
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.
- Blueberries, Blackberries, Saskatoonberries, Gooseberries, Salmonberries, Pearberries, Cranberries and Strawberries
- Whipped Soapberry "Indian ice cream", known as xoosum (HOO-shum) in the Interior of British Columbia in most of the Interior Salish languages, whether in ice cream form or as a cranberry-cocktail like drink; known for being a kidney tonic. Called Agutak in Alaska (with animal/fish fat)
- Pets de soeurs (lit. "nuns' farts") -- pastry dough wrapped around a brown sugar and cream filling
- Matrimonial cake and pork pies (date filled desserts)
- Maple syrup, especially tire d'érable sur la neige, also as flavouring, for example in Maple leaf cream cookies
- Jam busters (prairie jelly doughnuts)
- Apple pie
- Various black licorices
- Bumbleberry pie
- Bakeapple Pie
- Nanaimo bars
- Butter tarts - said to be invented in Eastern Ontario around 1915 . The main ingredients for the filling includes, butter, sugar and eggs, but raisins and pecans are often added for additional flavour.
- Beaver tails, also known as Elephant Ears or Moose Antlers.
- Sugar pie
- Persians -- somewhat like a cross between a large cinnamon bun and a doughnut, topped with strawberry icing, unique to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
- Sucre à la crème -- Québécois sweet milk squares.
- Nougabricot, a Québécois preserve consisting of apricots, almonds, and pistachios.
- Candy apple -- also known by the British term "toffee apple", candied apples are far more popular than in the United States, where the caramel apple is common.
- Moosehunters (Molasses cookies).
- Figgy duff - a pudding from Newfoundland
- Flapper Pie - A custard pie popular in Western Canada
Prepared food & beverages
- Canadian Bread
- Chocolate Bars: Coffee Crisp, Mr. Big, Caramilk, Aero, Crunchie, Bounty, Big Turk, Cherry Blossom, Crispy Crunch
- Other candy: Smarties, Mackintosh's Toffee, Glosette Pieces (Peanut, Raisin, or Almonds), Bridge Mixture (bridge mix)
- Kraft Dinner (many purchase store brand mac & cheese, but still call it this)
- Canadian Pizza (Bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms)
- Quebecois pizza (Pizza Quebecoise): besides cheese and tomato sauce, topped with pepperoni, bacon and olives, or mushrooms
- Shreddies Cereal
- Cow's Ice Cream (Prince Edward Island)
- Red River Cereal
- Ketchup, dill pickle, and "all-dressed" flavoured potato chips
- Tetley Tea
- Nabob Coffee
- Tim Hortons Coffee
- Hawkins Cheezies
- Canada Dry ginger ale
- Canadian beer
- Canadian whisky
- Canadian wine
- The Caesar, sometimes called the Bloody Caesar, is a cocktail made from vodka, clamato juice (clam-tomato juice), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, in a salt-rimmed glass (table salt or celery salt), and garnished with a stalk of celery, or more adventurously with a spoonful of horseradish, or a shot of beef bouillon. The Caesar was invented in 1969 in Calgary, Alberta, by bartender Walter Chell to mark the opening of a new restaurant Marco's.
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
(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.