In an assiduous attempt to trace Canada’s culinary contribution to the world, APEKSHA BHATEJA dissects it all—from iconic dishes to gourmet experiences.
If you love food as much as Canadians do, it would be sacrilegious to go back without having a serving or two of these classics.
Above: The Arctic Char, with green beans, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, and a spicy aioli.
Poutine: Canada should take a bow for a lot of things—this French- Canadian dish of crispy fries covered with gravy and cheese curds is one of them. Try different varieties of this mess such as poutine pizza, poutine ice cream, or poutine burger.
Bagels: We are not getting into the whole New York bagel versus Montreal bagel debate again. Just know that bagels in the French city are small, crunchy baked goodness with poppy or sesame seed toppings.
Arctic Char: Somewhere between trout and salmon in flavour, you will find this in the aisles of all grocery stories and on the menus of restaurants all across Canada.
Mussels: Did you know that Prince Edward Island produces almost 80 per cent of Canada’s mussels? Try steamed mussels in white wine sauce or mussel chowder —these P.E.I. delicacies are all-time favourites.
Smoked Meat Sandwich: Go to the counter of any deli in Montreal (we highly recommend the legendary Schwartz’s) and order this cousin of pastrami made with beef brisket. Fatty, medium, or lean smoked meat—your call.
Maple Donut: Where else will you have maple-glazed donuts if not in Canada?
Canadian Bacon: It’s just bacon for Canadians. These thin slices of cured pork loin are best had with eggs Benedict or topped on pizzas.
Tourtiere (Quebecois Meat Pie): Nothing says Christmas in Quebec more than this traditional French-Canadian dish. Normally, it is stuffed with finely chopped meat (beef, pork, veal, or game meats), but it has many regional variants across the country.
Saskatoon Berry Pie: You may not have heard of Saskatoon berry, but this wild superfood that looks like blueberry has been picked and eaten by the Aboriginals in Canada for hundreds of years and we are only now realising they make a delicious, fruity pie.
Bannock: Scottish traders brought this light, fry bread to Canada, where the Aboriginals adopted it. You can try bannock burgers or sandwiches at Kekuli Cafe in British Columbia.
A storage facility in Montreal was robbed of 20,000 litres of maple syrup in August. This isn’t the first time though—maple syrup worth US$18 million was stolen from Quebec in the great heist of 2012.
There is something to be said about a café that serves dogs (and happily), a restaurant that endorses blind tastings, and a bar that is straight out of Harry Potter.
Above: We are not kidding—it’s a Japanese practice to serve sushi on naked models and a Toronto-based catering service, Naked Sushi Inc, offers this unconventional experience to clients at their events. Before you gross out, sushi bearers are not totally naked and the food doesn’t touch their bodies directly. nakedsushi.ca