An Introduction To canadian food

When the weather gets cold up here in the great white north, canadians do two things. We Put on our Toques (not “knit hat”. it’s called a toque)…

here i am, in quebec city, smoking a cuban cigar and wearing a toque. these are things you can do in Canada!

and THEN, we get ourselves some real skookum food and just give ‘er… and that’s how we make it through the winter.

What kind of Food do we eat in Canada? Well frankly, every kind. Canada has immigrant populations from around the world, and the different  cooking traditions are enthusiastically enjoyed! But. There are some dishes which are unique to our country. and they are RAD. Here are  9 canadian dishes that might be news to you, but which i enjoy eating. Especially when my body needs another layer of insulating fat.


Listen. Potato chips aren’t unique to Canada. I’ve even eaten them in Japan! (japanese potato chips are great, by the way.)

but some of our flavours are.

Canadian favourite chip flavours include: Dill Pickle and Ketchup!

old dutch was a very popular brand in the praries when i was a kid. There are lots of regional chip companies in canada!

Ketchup chips are really good by the way, spicy and satisfying. and your hands turn red.


One popular favourite Porridge around the country is “red river cereal”.

mmmm FLAX

It’s a bunch of grains, presumably from the red river valley, including big red flax seeds which float around the bowl like small bugs. It’s consistency is not unlike eating mud, but it’s terribly filling. TERRIBLY.



Tortière comes from quebec! it’s a meat pie made from potatoes and pork or a mix of pork and beef; and you eat it around christmas. It’s deliciously meaty and fantastic. try some!



HAHAHA! Okay. the real list starts here. the previous ones were filler because i just wanted to write about poutine and donairs and stuff, but I wanted to round the list out. So What’s a Donair? Do you know what a Gyro is? It’s like that: shaved meat in a pita with sauce. But the Donair meat is a spiced BEEF log, and donair SAUCE is this creamy gooey sweet and tangy aberration to good nutrition.

i am addicted to donairs

They were adapted from the gyro in Halifax, nova scotia; and the rad flavour has spread across canada like wildfire: donair pizzas are awesome by the way.


SO there’s this magical food that is SUPER popular in canada. It’s the combination of french fries, gravy, and cheese CURDS (not grated cheese. they have to be squeaky).  It’s called poutine, and it’s an amazing synthesis of flavours. the satisfaction itself is emergent: it tastes better than the sum of its parts. It’s warm and fatty and good. When you eat poutine, suddenly the very concept of war seems unfathomable.

this is the reason Quebec should not separate from canada.

Since the (quasi-recent) invention of poutine, the Quebecois have continued to innovate on the theme; adding peas and other foodstuff to it.


Nanaimo Bars

Okay. So there’s this place on Vancouver Island called Nanaimo. I think Pamela Anderson is from near there. I digress, because Nanaimo has a much more important child, by the name of Nanaimo Bars.

So imagine that someone took the concept of a brownie, and then turned the sweetness dial from 3 to 100.

aaah, nanaimo bars!

You can only eat a few of them before your chest starts hurting. The bottom layer is chocolatey and has the consistency of brownies, but it has nuts in it or something. you can’t taste it so it’s mostly there for texture. the middle layer is like… SUGAR and FAT mixed up. I think it might be cream or something. it tastes like vanilla? i don’t know. It’s so sweet it hurts your tongue. The top layer is chocolate.

Nanaimo bars are good with black coffee. And bad with diabetes.

Butter Tarts

Okay, so rounding up the list is my favourite yearly treat. I make about a hundred of these every year, and hand them out at christmas. they’re amazing.


So. How can i explain it for someone who hasn’t tasted one? The external is like, pie crust, and the inside is a boiled down mixture of sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla and raisins. so it’s sweet. It’s like a pecan pie without the pecans. someone was like “hey, how about we make a mince-meat pie without all this terrible mince meat, and instead yummy raisins”.  It’s all caramelized and good, because you bake it after you boil it down.

It’s very sweet.

it’s very very sweet.

In any case, please come to canada and eat our food.


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10 Responses to An Introduction To canadian food

  1. KenMNo Gravatar 26 July, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    While the “donair” spelling is probably uniquely Canadian, they are suspiciously like the Turkish “döner kebabs” that are so popular everywhere you find Turkish people. (I’m pretty sure the word means rotisserie, just like “shish” means skewer.)

    Still, I could totally go for one now.

    • benNo Gravatar 26 July, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

      döner kababs use lamb, while canadian donairs use beef. Also, donairs have that crazy sauce. that isn’t to say that I don’t like döner kababs and gyros. *drools*

  2. JacobNo Gravatar 26 July, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    10th Geeky Way to Stay Healthy: Don’t eat Canadian Food.

    • RyanNo Gravatar 28 July, 2010 at 6:51 pm #


  3. JacobNo Gravatar 26 July, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Also, I hope that picture isn’t from this month (July) in Quebec City. We’re dealing with 90-110 degree (F) heat down here on the US East Coast. I have dreams about being cold and wearing a jacket nowadays.

  4. benNo Gravatar 26 July, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    we’ve also had quite the heat wave for the last few weeks. today was nice though. a strong wind brought fresh air.

    • benNo Gravatar 26 July, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

      Hey! Everyone! apparently you can buy nanaimo bars from tim hortons shops across the US including in new york city.

  5. NickNo Gravatar 6 August, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    I discovered Poutine about a year ago at a food cart in Portland, OR. On paper it sounds like a terrible idea – french fries gravy, and cheese curds? But I have to agree it is a life changing experience. If you haven’t experienced Poutine you are doing yourself a disservice (and its now available at many a fine US establishment). Keep up the good work Canada.

  6. benNo Gravatar 6 August, 2010 at 10:27 am #



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