Although Toronto is epically awesome we are a part of an equally awesome country that has some pretty great gourmet treats. From coast to coast our eclectic country offers a plethora of unique cultural cuisine and traditional favourites that can turn any Canadian road trip into a culinary escapade.
Here is a list of 10 foods that are popular in different parts of Canada and are hard, if not impossible to get in Toronto.
Photo cred- Yycbesteats
1. Corn Fritters - Alberta
These golden deep fried cornucopias are all over Calgary like the gophers. From KFC to Chicken on The Way you'll be hard pressed to find a piece of fried chicken in Calgary that isn’t accompanied by this nugget of sunshine. Thick batter with whole kernels of corn is dropped into a deep fryer in small balls and they are fried until they resemble little golden suns. Best when dipped in honey corn fritters are impossible to find in Toronto so I made my own. Here is a great recipe.
Photo cred- Chowtrek
2. (Real) Poutine - Quebec
Yes poutine is Canada’s unofficial national food; and it has made us the envy of the world. However despite being able to get this tasty potato treat anywhere in Canada, even McDonald's, nothing beats the authentic Quebec version. Maybe it’s the authentic cheese curds (shredded cheese is for amateurs) or the extra thick brown gravy whatever it is nothing beats a real deal poutine in Canada’s French speaking pride and joy.
Photo cred- GrindTV
3. Moose Jerky - Northern Ontario
It may come as a surprise to us urbanites but hunting is really popular everywhere else in Canada. Those residing anywhere North of Toronto will tell you one of the most anticipated hunting seasons is Moose season. Especially popular amongst indigenous Canadians Moose meat is a leaner alternative to beef and can be locally sourced.
One of the many and most popular uses of moose meat is moose jerky. Made the same way as your standard jerky Moose meat is a bit chewier and offers a bolder meat flavour. Sometimes flavoured with various spices and smoke agents Moose jerky is definitely worth the road trip out of Toronto.
Photo cred- Fusion Caffe
4. Pineapple Crush- Newfoundland
In New Foundland you can drink screech and kiss the cod and you can also indulge in what is described as neon yellow god juice, pineapple Crush. Sold in abundance throughout the maritime province this tasty tropical treat is missing from the Tdot pop lexicon. Although this elusive beverage has been seen at the random neighbourhood convenience store I recommend stocking up if you ever do spot it or taking an epic road trip all in order to taste one. The sublime fusion of pineapple and pop is well worth the gas money.
Photo cred- Mr. Donair
5. Donairs - Nova Scotia
Any true Scotian will regal you with tales of this meaty treat and how much they miss it. Not to be confused with a shawarma, like seriously DO NOT call it or dare compare it to a shawarma, this perfect pita hinges on the sauce. The sweet cream sauce of evaporated milk and garlic is what sets this delicacy apart from the common pita.
Then, it's piled high with a combination of ground beefy goodness mixed with breadcrumbs and spices, love, the essence of the Maritimes and some other stuff that is slowly roasted on a spinning rotisserie *drool*. Topped with only raw onion and tomato donairs are a cross between, dare I say it, a gyro and shawarma however the donair is better simply because its Canadian. The Fuzz Box on the Danforth boasts authentic Nova Scotian donairs its even written on their sign.
Photo cred- Nick Merzetti
6. Pemmican - Saskatchewan
A true Canadian dish pemmican’s roots stretch back to before the fur trade when First Nations tribes where perfecting meat drying and storing techniques. Usually made of moose, bison, elk or deer the meat is cut thinly and slowly dried over a fire. The dried meat is then pounded into a meat dust, sometimes Saskatoon berries, blackberries or currents are also crushed with the meat. The mashed mixture is then mixed with an equal part of melted fat. The meaty mashup was then stored in rawhide bags until needed.
To serve pemmican was fried in a pan with onions and potatoes or occasionally alone making for a delicious fried hash. Pemmican is one of the original and earliest dishes ever served in Canada, now that is pretty cool. No word if the Pan Am Aboriginal food truck will be serving this dish during the games but if they become a staple on the streets of The 6 I hope they bring this classically Canadian concoction to the masses.
Photo cred- Scrumdiddlyumptious
7. Ginger Beef - Calgary
Calgary may just be the culinary capital of Canada with the amount of delicious food it keeps from the rest of us. Ginger Beef is so popular in Calgary there are at least five different restaurants and franchises that have the words ‘ginger beef’ in their title. Served at every Chinese food restaurant in C-town ginger beef is deep fried strips of beef coated in a slightly spicy rich ginger sauce with julienned carrots and onions.
One of Calgary’s most popular dishes it is a mandatory top for any visitor to the Rocky Mountain city. Come for the views stay for the food should be Calgary’s motto. While visiting don’t forget to visit one of the cities three indoor wave pools *jealous much*.
8. Fish and Brewis with Scrunchions - New Foundland
Atlantic Canada is known for its sea food so its no surprise that fish based dish made the list repping New Foundland. Fish and brewis is the traditional Newfie dish of salted cod that has soaked overnight and hard bread often referred to as ‘hard tack’ that is also soaked overnight. The next day both the cod and the bread are boiled till soft and served together with scrunchions.
Scrunchions could be referred to as maritime bacon as it is crispy pork fat fried until crisp. Although recipes vary depending on where you are on the East Coast the standard ingredients remain the same. I recommend getting a true blooded east coaster to cook up this unique meal for you.
Photo cred- Epicurious
9. Sugar Pie - Quebec City
Tarté au Sucre as it is loving referred to is reminiscent of another Canadian pastry, the butter tart. Sugar pie is a little sweeter, larger and more reminiscent of caramel than its buttery counterpart. A flaky pie crust is filled with a mixture of cream, flour, butter, salt, vanilla and sometimes maple syrup or brown sugar is added as well.
The pie is then baked until golden brown and served with fruit and whipped cream or on its own because it’s that good. Popular among Quebecers for its easy recipe and the nostalgic feels it induces. Try baking one up yourself until your next trip to Quebec.
Photo cred- Dr. Fressen
10. Seafood Poutine - Vancouver
A food truck staple in the coastal capital Vancouver the seafood poutine is just as epic as it sounds. The fresh seafood ingredients can vary from day to day like the tide however the core recipe calls for a clams and mussels resulting in a chowderesque gravy that is then poured over crispy hand-cut (probably from P.E.I) fries. High end eateries have been known to add lobster and/or shrimp but true Vancouverites know you can’t go wrong with the classic clam and mussels version. Here in Toronto Rock Lobster Food on Ossington serves up a lobster poutine they say is one of their most popular menu items.