Get a taste of Canada with these 10 local foods

by Julie Bruns

Canada is a country of vast distances and diverse cultures, which is a blessing for foodies as it means there are countless unique epicurean delights to be found across the country. From B.C. spot prawns to Newfoundland screech, we bring you the top 10 distinctly local delights from across Canada. How many have you tried? [Image credit: iStock.com/jrwasserman]

Get a taste of Canada with these 10 local foods

Maple syrup
One simply can’t have a list of local Canadian foods without putting maple syrup at the top of the list. Quebec produces 75% of the world’s maple syrup, and whether you pour it over pancakes or cool it on snow to make maple candy, there’s no denying, it just tastes Canadian.

Caesars
The first Caesar was mixed in Calgary in 1969 and has fast become a go-to favorite for happy hour across the country. If you’re looking to sample one in its birthplace, Local in Calgary serves theirs up in a quaint cowboy boot mug.

Bannock
With a history in Canadian dining that goes back to before the fur trade, flat, fried bannock bread has become a traditional First Nations dish. Go for authentic flavours and try some at Vancouver’s First Nation-owned Salmon n’ Bannock restaurant.

Poutine
If you ask someone to name a Canadian food, poutine will most likely be the one that springs to mind. After all, the crisp fries drizzled with thick gravy and gooey cheese curds leave quite an impression. You can find them most places fries are sold, but since they originated in Quebec, try ordering some up at a place like Montreal’s The Green Spot, which features 27 mouthwatering kinds.

Newfoundland screech
This potent rum plays a key part in welcoming non-Newfies to this region of Canada. The casual 'screech-in' ceremony involves a quick shot of this beverage, followed up by kissing a cod. Welcome to Newfoundland!

Nanaimo bars
This delightful layered chocolate, cream and sugar concoction was first mixed up in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, B.C. Now you’ll find them throughout Canada’s cafes, but they do seem to taste better in the Harbour City.

Prairie oysters
Whether this is a food challenge or a genuine delicacy is up to you to decide, but prairie oysters – deep-fried bull, pig or sheep testicles – are a common sight on the menu in some parts of Canada. For an authentic sample, stop by Buzzards in Calgary during the Stampede, where they’ve been on the menu for over 20 years.

Halifax donairs
The donair might not be a strictly Canadian idea, but the East Coast has put their own foodie twist (and special sauce) on it to create a unique taste. Order one up at the Halifax Original Donair restaurant after an evening of browsing the city.

Spot prawns
If you love seafood, don’t let B.C.’s spot prawns escape your must-eat list. Famously sweet and firm, the best way to enjoy this delicacy may well be at the Spot Prawn Festival in Vancouver.

Butter tarts
Flaky pastry and a buttery, sweet filling with raisins – butter tarts are a sinfully delicious part of Canadian cuisine. Found across the country, Ontario may the province most passionate about their butter tarts, with the regions of Wellington North and Kawarthas Northumberland offering competing butter tart “tours” or “trails”.

Canada’s variety of foodie delights spans from one coast to the other, providing plenty of delicious dishes for the food-lover. By no means exhaustive, this list will at least get you off to a good start on enjoying the unique flavours of the North!

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