You're Not A True Canadian Unless You've Tried These 13 Food Items

One even has vodka in it!

Editorial Operations Manager
Someone holding a box of Timbits. Right: A woman holding two beaver tails.

Someone holding a box of Timbits. Right: A woman holding two beaver tails.

From sea to sea, Canadians and newcomers alike love to indulge in tasty snacks and delicious drinks. While specialty cafés, locally grown foods and passed-down recipes vary, some things are just undeniably Canadian to the core.

Of course, edible and drinkable goodness is an important part of every Canadian's life. Even though many people like to assume that the Great White North is just a giant northern state slumped in with the rest of the U.S., that's couldn't be far from the truth. We have a plethora of Canadian delicacies that can rarely be enjoyed outside of the true north.

This Canadian food guide includes everything from maple taffy to so-called Canadian bacon. Now, if you're still on a journey to taste those foods, you might notice that the fanciness (or weirdness) and presentation of these items differ greatly, so you might want to double-check your order with the wait staff or you'll be in for a pretty big surprise.

If you like squeaky cheese curds and creamy gravy, we've got the perfect Québécois dish for you. Not to mention, an incredible cheesy pasta that's fit for all Canadian kids (and hungry university students) — Kraft Dinner.

From Timbits to various flavours of chips here are the iconic foods every Canuck needs to try at least once in their lifetime in order to call themselves a true Canadian.

BeaverTails

This fried and sugary treat is the ultimate Canadian dessert. Since BeaverTails carts are sprinkled throughout major cities in Canada, you've likely encountered them on a walk in one of the country's major cities.

The company offers this sweet treat of hand-stretched and fried pastry dough, drenched in as much cinnamon sugar, chocolate or caramel as your heart desires. Both locals and tourists are impressed with the simpleness yet tasty goodness of those desserts.

Nanaimo Bars

This tiny chocolate square of goodness is one of Canada's oldest and most well known foods. Originally hailing from namesake city in B.C., this popular treat is one of a kind and totally Canadian. Over the years, innovative bakers from coast to coast have come up with flavorings more delicious than the next, but the OG still reigns in our hearts.

You need to try this chocolate, wafer and custard dessert to truly taste the true north.

Back "Canadian" Bacon

If you have very few dietary restrictions, you've probably tried bacon before. But have you tried back bacon?

While this may seem like a basic piece of ham to the untrained eye, real Canadians know that ham and back bacon are quite different. According to Masterclass, both come from the pig, but ham is a cut from the back legs of the animal, while back bacon is, well, from the back. So, which cut does that streaky bacon you see at the grocery store come from? That American-style bacon actually comes from the belly of the pig.

Now that you know the difference, you better make sure you try all of them side by side on your next brunch.

Poutine

This one is easy.

Canadians and poutine go hand in hand. There isn't one without the other. The mix of crispy fries, gooey gravy and squeaky cheese curds is perfection. While poutines were originally from Québec — and the true origin story and town of the dish is a heated topic — all cities in the country now offer the Canuck delicacy.

Good news for all those with a plant-based diet because the dish is just as delightful with a mushroom gravy and alternative cheeses. Add your favourite toppings, and voilà! The world is your poutine.

Butter Tarts

You know what's bad for you? Sugar and fat. But you know what tastes awesome? Yeah, sugar and fat, or more precisely, butter.

Canadian butter tarts are a dessert to be reckoned with. Until you've had one — or a couple — you won't understand how addictive these little babies are. It truly is one of those old recipes that will stay anchored in Canada's culinary culture. Variations of the gooey tart are sold across the countries, so you just have to take a bite!

While you're at it, you might as well splurge on a similar Québec dish called tarte au sucre (trans.: sugar pie). Your dentist may judge you on your next visit, but you won't regret it one bit.

Bloody Caesars

No, it's definitely not a Bloody Mary in that pic. How dare you even ask? The assumption makes our Canadians hearts bleed.

Bloody Caesars, or just Caesars, are the most iconic drink to ever originate in Canada.

Built up, usually tall and in a highball glass rimmed with celery salt and filled with ice, it marries ingredients you'd never think of putting in a cocktail: vodka, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, tomato juice, and clam juice (yeah, you read that right). Some say lime juice or brine is the cherry on top, but we'll let you try that one out yourself.

Now, bars and restaurants have gotten creative about the garnishes over the years, so you might end up with more than the traditional celery stalk in your drink. From green olives, to pickled gherkins and peas, you could end up with a whole salad in your glass. Or, as LCBO suggests, why not add a bacon slice to your now-carnivorous cocktail and push over the celery salt for steak spices?

If you're a true Canadian, then you live for the Clamato cocktail. While this may not be food, some Canadian restaurants have begun serving mega Caesars that are stacked with so much food on top, you might as well skip the appetizers.

Ketchup Chips

If you're not from the Great White North, then you might find this one to be a bit odd. Ketchup on chips? Who would think of that? Well, apparently, some Canadian did.

Those savoury and salty snacks are so popular that you'll find them in pretty much every junk food isle in grocery stores, right next to BBQ and salt and vinegar chips.

It's definitely a Canadian favourite.

Tim Hortons Timbits

Tim Hortons is a cult classic in Canada. While the coffee company may no longer be solely Canadian owned, the Restaurant Brands International cafés will always have a dear place in our heart. Their delicious donut holes, or Timbits for the more intimate, are an absolute delight when paired with a double-double.

While the fancier special-edition pastries behind the glass probably make your mouth water when you're queuing, every business meeting made in heaven needs its generous share of Timbits.

Even Justin Bieber came out with his very own flavour line called Timbiebs.

Montreal-style Bagels

I'm sure you've heard of New York-style bagels, but have you ever heard of Montreal-style bagels? These wood-fire bagels are known for their denser dough, crispy and sweet exterior, and overall homemade appearance.

Oh, and they won't go bad! (Okay, that may not be true, but they definitely don't have time to go bad because they're delicious.)

If you want to get the full experience, treat yourself to some Montreal smoked meat, or smoked salmon and cream cheese on top!

Kraft Dinner

Kraft Dinner, also known as KD, is a part of every tiny Canadian's childhood memories. If you didn't grow up on KD, you probably weren't a Canadian kid during the early 1990s or 2000s.This cheesy delicious meal is probably the first recipe many of us even learned to cook on the stove.

Now, that and its cheap price point is most likely why the quick meal is great for university students on a budget.

All Dressed Chips

So, we already talked about ketchup chips, but all dressed chips are the next best thing. The flavour of mixed (unknown) spices makes for a delicious snack.

Whether it's by the pool on a hot summer day or in a communal bowl at your high school birthday party, you probably shared a bag with your loved ones at some point in your life.

If you've never their sweet flavourful goodness, this is your sign. You'll never go back to plain chips again.

Coffee Crisp

Picture a bunch of tiny humans dressed as their favourite cartoon characters or spooky icons walking around town on the last night of October. These little monsters are on the hunt for the best Canadian snacks their neighbours are willing to part with to make them go away.

Now, Canadian kids want nothing to do with your Tootsie Rolls, but they'll fill their pillowcases with delicious Coffee Crisp candy bars. While a coffee-flavoured chocolate might not be your first bet when you thought about filling up on Halloween candy, this iconic Canadian candy is beloved across the country.

Come on, just have one. The alternating layers of vanilla wafer and coffee chocolate will leave you wanting more.

Maple Syrup

Of course, we couldn't have a list of iconic Canadian foods without a spot of choice for maple syrup. Not only are we known for having true Canadian maple syrup, but also for incorporating maple in various famous foods.

Indeed, in Canada, you can get maple taffy, maple cookies, maple wine, maple fudge, maple lollipops, maple tea, maple yogurt, maple chocolate, maple whiskey, maple ice cream, maple bread, maple donuts, maple cereal, maple sugar pie, maple butter, maple popcorn, maple oatmeal, maple gum, and even maple jerky. Honestly, that's not even the whole list.

If you're unsure about which sweet sweet food to pleasure your mouth with, just boil some maple syrup, pour it over fresh clean snow and pick it up with a wooden stick. Thank us later.


This article has been updated since its original publication on June 6, 2019.

Jasmine Girn
Editorial Operations Manager
Kelly Asselin-Tousignant
Associate Copy Editor
Kelly Asselin-Tousignant is an Associate Copy Editor for Narcity Media Group and is based in Montreal.
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