Canada is one of my favourite countries in the world... and the food is one part of that. Here's why...
Canadian cuisine has evolved from the far-reaching cultural influences - Europe, Asia, Caribbean, and especially Britain and France - the country had direct contact with, and the contributions that each individual, family, town, and region made to create the “smorgasbord” as it is considered today.
Poutine, a french fry-looking dish and arguably Canada’s national and most defining dish or side dish. It’s one of the best things to come out of French impact on Canada. Poutine is best served with a meat-based gravy and curds on top of the bowl of fries. It’s so popular in the country that fast food chains like McDonald’s serve them too and annual poutine festivals are held throughout the cities. As for its origins, a number of towns in Quebec claim to have invented it, and as far as can be known, poutine traces its first introduction back to the 1950s.
2. Canadian Bacon
The rest of the world and bacon-eating America is familiar with that kind of bacon: the thin strip of meat derived from the belly of pork. Just about every other kind of bacon else is “peameal” bacon - Canadian bacon - which is essentially taken from the lean pork loin and brined. At first when Canada was exporting their peameal bacon to England, they’d roll the bacon in yellow peas for preservation, which eventually was replaced by the practice of rolling it in cornmeal.
3. Butter Tarts
Butter tarts are one of the few original foods from Canada. Several variations and resemblances exist, yet their status as one of Canada’s quintessential home-grown recipes - albeit having countless of the latter - is uncontested. It is a tart made from a pastry shell, butter, sugar, syrup, eggs, and raisins, and cooked until the tart pie filling is semi-solid and semi-crunchy. Its ties with a similar English pastry may explain the butter tart’s popularity among the English-speaking in Canada.
4. Nanaimo Bars
Canadian cuisine physically look like famous dishes, but differ with their own unique twists and quirks in flavour, ingredients, or some secret about its origin or cooking. Nanaimo bars look like cheesecake but are a sweet dessert made of crumbs as a base, icing in the middle, then topped with chocolate. Named after the West Coast city in British Columbia, the term “Nanaimo bar” is strictly Canadian. Nanaimo bars obviously just need assembling the ingredients in layers - no cooking involved - and cookers are free to variate the flavours to further bolster this Canadian favourite.
5. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is the best thing to come out of Canada. It could even tie with the maple leaf on this country’s flag. However, processing of maple syrup in Canada is serious business, beginning from its use by the indigenous peoples of North America, to which European settlers introduced their own refining methods. The town of Quebec produces 85% of the world’s maple syrup, which is usually drizzled over pancakes as a topping, waffles, French toast, oatmeal, or porridge. Pure and natural, and not completely understood, it has a “unique” sweet taste and used as a sweetener and for baking.
Canada is famous for many things like winter sports, ice hockey, social programs and groups, and budget-friendliness, though their choice of cuisine is a matter of national interest to us as well. Canadians’ choice of food reflects their love for carbs for one, and hearty dishes that have the potential to make normal meals complete, while providing the perfect complement to a dinner with family and friends.