Things I Love/ Hate About Canadian Food

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A while ago, I was invited by The Writer to talk about Canadian food I like…or hate. I loved the idea, but I needed time in order to take pictures.

So here my food list! This was actually hard. Canada is such a multicultural country, we all tend to eat ethnic food. I could list Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese dishes I loved or hate, but Canadian? I needed to think. Overall, the food here is quite straightforward. No insects, no blood sausage, nothing too weird. Yet, I have my pet peeves!

Things I love:

My top Canadian favorite is still maple syrup. Yes, it is extra sweet but it’s also delicious on pancakes or in plain yogurt. I also like maple tarts, pecan pies or butter tarts, all Canadian specialties.

I also like maple toffy, which is boiled maple sap poured onto snow and then lifted with a stick. It’s a winter treat and a great incentive to go out when it’s –30C. BBQ would be the summer favorite. Even though I don’t eat much meat, a real BBQ is something to experience and it’s quite tasty.

We are lucky to have a lot of fresh and cheap veggies, mostly thanks to Canada’s fertile soil… and importing from our Southern neighbors! I always have tomatoes, zucchinis, bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, eggplants etc. in my fridge and I love vegetables.

American-style diners are interesting places. Most of time, these restaurants are cheap and the food is plenty and tasty. Sweet potatoes fries, homemade burgers, salads etc. are always on the menu.

Things I don’t like:

Please, don’t take my citizenship away!

I can’t stand poutine, the Quebec specialty. It is basically a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients such as smoked meat (or whatever the kitchen can find). Just looking at it, I can feel my arteries clogging… I can’t believe some people eat that at lunch, at work! And this is hugely popular, trust me.

Tim Hortons is probably the most popular food franchise in Canada and I still don’t totally understand why. The coffee is basically very sweet burning hot brownish water and the pastries are way to sweet — yet, Canadians line up religiously every morning at the counter to get their fix. I hate Timbits, the bite sized donuts ball (basically, the left-over dough from donuts, since donuts have a hole in the middle), sold usually in a box of twenty. I just don’t get it.

Another one… pumpkins. Around Halloween, a lot of people buy pumpkin to carve and display. But suddenly, in the food industry, everything has to be “pumpkin-flavored”. I don’t mind a pumpkin soup. But pumpkin cakes, drinks etc.? Er… no.

I can’t stand fast food either, and there are a lot of them around here! Don’t get me wrong: I like burgers. But homemade burgers. Fast food are greasy, dirty and the portion size is crazy. The one I hate the most if K.F.C (it doesn’t even look like chicken!), followed by Mcdonalds, Burger King, Wendys etc. Actually, the only fast food I actually go to from time to time is Subway. At least, I can recognize what I eat.

And finally… hot dogs! Once the weather is warm enough, this is really popular. Hot Dog stands are found everywhere, especially downtown, and the line up at noon is quite impressive. I still don’t understand why people like sausage on a bun…

I’d like to tag:

  • Bluefish, author of Between Canada And Denmark, who is going to move to Denmark
  • Diane, author of DianeCA’s Metamorphoses, who is American and living in Norway
  • Barbara, from Home in France, who is from Hawaii but has been living in France for a long time
  • Au Soleil Levant, whose author is American and spent two years in France
  • Priyank, author if Final Transit, who is from India and lives in Toronto (I might discover other Canadian foods I love… or hate!)

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Hey Zhu, totally on the maple syrup stuff! Boudin noir / blanc is French! Poutine – yummy! Tim Hortons coffee – totally agree, you could be in Norway or anywhere in the Nordics. Pumpkin flavoured – sounds shite! Hot dogs – the nationalal dish in Norway – grillpølse!

  2. silverneurotic on

    Pumpkin soup is nice, my aunt makes it-though, I’ve only had it once (though, obviouosly it left an impression!). Pumpkin pancakes are okay too. Okay, I admit, I like pumpkin!

  3. My dear wife loves pumpkin ice cream. She brings it home and she enjoys it. Me, not so much. I like her pumpkin soup tho. I like good sausage on a bun, and I like doughnut holes. I feel kind of guilty about it but I still like it. I think I might pass on the poutine. What is wonderful about food is kind of like beauty. It is in the eyes of the beholder.

  4. You know what, I would like to try the poutine once you described it. It sounds like it’s something that I’d like LOL

    About maple syrup, I couldn’t stand it. It smells weird! 😛

  5. Hey Zhu, I met a French guy once and he told me he doesn’t like poutine either. He thought Canadian food is too greasy and unhealthy. I don’t mind poutine once a blue moon but I can’t stand Timmy’s coffee. They’re gross and I’d rather have a French Vanilla or Moka.

    Now I must think a list of Canadian food I like or other type of food?

  6. Seriously, all those food you mentioned sound YUMMY!! 😀 Except that I don’t take meat, else I’d wallop those too, LOL!

    Ironically, you make the poutine sounds so delicious – french fries, cheese curds… *drools*

  7. Here in the States I’ve had fries with cheese sauce, and fries with gravy, but I’ve never had cheese curds or poutine. Not that I wouldn’t try it, though – sounds delish! Also, growing up in the New England region of the States, we have Dunkin Donuts, which are just as prevalent in Massachusetts as Tim Hortons is in Canada (if not more), so I kinda grew up on Dunkins. Good stuff! I don’t like coffee at all though, so I can’t comment on that – though Dunkin coffee gave my husband the jitters, and he’s no wallflower when it comes to caffeine. And I love pumpkin in all sorts of baked goods. It’s one of those quintessential fall flavors.

  8. Very interesting to read you, a globetrotter’s opinion, on this. I have not thought that much about likes and dislikes before my Diane came over to Norway to live with me. We’ve talked a lot about your post tonight, but I won’t spoil her plans for the post 🙂

    You know what I love from Canada: Maple Fudge! I still get the taste in my mouth when reading your blog.

  9. HAHAHA…. I am with you on all the ‘I hate…’ list except that I don’t know about the unique French Fries thing. Maybe I’ll try (and then agree with you) when I go to Montreal next month.

    It’s really hard to say what’s uniquely Canadian, since everything is American – plus the maple syrup, lol. And since I don’t eat much meat, most of the stakes are out of league for me… hehehe!

    Liked the list. Thanks!

  10. @beaverboosh – I really really can’t eat poutine. My shameful secret.

    @silverneurotic – Nothing wrong if you like pumpkin! It’s the overdose of the orange stuff that gets me.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – Pumpkin ice cream? Now, I must say I have never heard of it! The donuts thing may be cultural. I do eat sweets though, but I’d rather have an almond croissant or a danish…

    @the writer – The smell is weird, that’s true. I thought the same! But I quickly got used to the taste… Thanks for the meme, it was fun to do!

    @Bluefish – You could list Denmark foods, but Canadian foods or even Taiwanese foods are fine too!

    I do find food is quite greasy and fat here. I love food and I’m not a diet kind of girl, but I have my limits – poutine is one of them! 😆

    @kyh – Poutine doesn’t look delicious to me! 😆 I love cheese, but cheese curds? American cheese curds? Er… 😆

    @Agnes – You should come here for a little trip then!

    @Kirsten – It is definitely cultural then! The way you talk about the food, it makes me feel like eating… 😆 I grew up on croissants and pain au chocolat, and pumpkin was something that… we only saw in our English book, on the lesson about Thanksgiving!

    @RennyBA – I forgot to list the fudge! Really, I like anything maple then 😆

    @Final_Transit – You have to try poutine. Just don’t weight yourself right after eating! Are you going to Quebec via Ottawa by any chance?

    @Khengsiong – Not really actually… I’m not even a big fan of complicated French cuisine. I like world food. I cook Chinese, Indian, North African stuffs way more often then French!

    @Lizz – Maple toffee on snow is so cool, and good too!

  11. I don’t get the Tim Horton’s thing, either. If I’m on a road trip, especially in the U.S., it’s about the closest thing I can find to food… which is a pretty sad state of affairs!

  12. Hi Zhu,

    I’m not forgetting this fun meme. I have just put on my thinking cap to elaborate a few points.
    I’ll get back to you this week.

    Have a good day 😉

  13. @Bluefish – No pressure, take your time!

    @Baoru – Of course, it’s very nutritious! 😆

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – Yes, it is something to try. Well, I guess anyway. I’m too Canadian now, don’t need no bragging rights!

    @sir jorge – Thank you!

    @shionge – I don’t find it expensive, it’s actually pretty cheap compared to Starbucks etc. But it tastes like shit!

    @Gail at Large – I think that’s the last time I had Tim Hortons: either on the road, or maybe at the airport…

    @Gail at Large – Weird! I think I’ve been brainwashed by the French, and let’s face it: cheese curds aren’t really cheese, are they! 😆

    @barbara – Take all the time you need, no pressure!

  14. Olivier Bouffard on

    Tsk tsk tsk…

    Et le ragoût de pattes de cochon?

    Le pâté chinois?

    La tourtière?

    La ratatouille?

    La cipaille? (“sea pie”, get it?)

    Les pets de soeur?

    Le pouding chômeur?

    Est-on vraiment canadien tant qu’on n’a jamais bouffé de chevreuil ou d’orignal (causes de décès acceptables: collision automobile ou hasard de chasse…), ou de l’ours, du caribou, du wapiti? Du castor, du porc-épic, du raton-laveur? (OK, on oublie la mouffette) De la ouananiche, du doré, de la perchaude, des éperlans, ou des petits poissons des chenaux? Bref, si on n’a pas mangé quelque chose qui n’a pas été élevé pour finir dans ton assiette?

    • Le ragoût de pattes de cochon… me semble que j’ai mangé ça… à Hong Kong. Pas fastoche d’ailleurs avec les baguettes.

      Les pets de soeurs (ou de nonnes…) j’en ai mangé en France. Pâté chinois, jamais trouvé le nom appétissant (remarque, ça vaut aussi pour le plat précédent).

      Je viens de réaliser que je ne suis donc pas canadienne (le truc le plus exotique dans mon assiette a été le poulet de Food Basic).

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