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10 Things You Must Eat (Or Drink) In Canada

A Canadian Tim Hortons On Rideau
A Canadian Tim Hortons On Rideau

Welcome to my new series, the “Canadian List of Ten”! Ten weeks, ten posts, ten lists and one hundred new Canadian things for you, from food to language, from city to weather.

Let’s not do like Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean visiting Nunavut: raw seal heart is not for everyone. But I know there are some Canadian specialties you are dying to try!

Like the country, Canadian food is very diverse. Each province has its own specialty and many dishes were brought in Canada by immigrants (which explains why Winnipeggers are fond of Ukrainian pirogi, why people in Ottawa seem to survive on Pho Soup etc.). Yet, some foods are really worth tasting and enjoying in canada.

  1. Donuts: these North American pastries are popular in Canada, and guess where you can buy them? You are right, Tim Hortons! I mentioned the ubiquitous Coffee chain so many times on this blog that I think they should pay me. Preferably not in coffee, thanks.
  2. Maple Syrup: it’s super sweet and it can be used as a sweetener in yogurt or cake mixes, or as a spread on bread and toasts. Maple syrup is quite inexpensive in Canada and you can buy some pretty much anywhere.
  3. Poutine: this will be the only time in your life when you will feel your arteries clog as you eat. Yep, poutine is not for the wannabe skinny! True Canadians insist on it being topped with real cheese curds, whatever that means. I admit it, I’m not a poutine person…
  4. Montreal smoked meat: even if you are not in Montreal, I’m pretty sure you can find a diner which specialized in smoked meat sandwiches. It is usually served with coleslaw, potato fries and a pickle.
  5. Montreal-style bagels: with a thick spread of cream cheese, it’s almost as good as French baguette and blue cheese. Seriously.
  6. Salmon: not surprisingly for a country bordered by the Pacific and the Atlantic, seafood is excellent in Canada.
  7. Nanaimo Bars: a treat consisting of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavored butter icing, which is covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares.
  8. Butter tarts: it consists of butter, sugar, and eggs in a pastry shell. It’s sugar heaven!
  9. Pâté Chinois (shepherd’s pie): this dish, popular in Québec, is made from layered ground beef (sometimes mixed with sautéed diced onions) on the bottom layer, canned corn (either whole-kernel, creamed, or a mix) for the middle layer, and mashed potatoes on top. One explanation for the name (“Chinese pie”) is that it was introduced to French Canadian railway workers by Chinese cooks during the building of the North American railroads in the late 19th century.
  10. Ice wine: this is a dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Isn’t it Canada the perfect place to produce it? The wine is very sweet with high acidity. In the Eastern part of Canada, wineries are found in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

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