This Review article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Dollarama is many Canadians' go-to place for great deals on basically anything you need. From decorations and household goods to kitchen tools and snacks, it's really a great one-stop-shop.
But, can you get genuinely good food at the cheap Canada-wide dollar store chain? I intend to find out.
To determine if Dollarama can replace part of your grocery store bill, I trekked to my nearest location and bought a bunch of "D" brand snacks.
These generic versions of popular snacks did not cost more than $2 each and offered themselves up as approximations of iconic brands like Oreo Cookies, Ritz Crackers and Kraft Dinner.
And, after trying seven different options, I can firmly say that some of them might be the worst versions of what they report to be I have ever tried in my entire life.
D Corn Cakes
The yellowish corn cake being held.
This is my first time having a corn cake and I can easily see it being my last. For those, like me, who are unfamiliar, imagine a rice cake made of corn, that's basically all this is.
The first thing I noticed after opening it was a slightly musty smell, almost like my grandma's house. And, when I took a bite, it tasted exactly how it smelled.
It had that crunchy rice cake-y texture, but it had a bitterness that joyfully danced along with that weird old funk.
I couldn't even bring myself to finish a single one.
Rating: 1 / 5
Gourmet D Baked Crackers
The small cracker held by two fingers.
These Ritz dupes looked promising but, oh boy, these were awful.
I don't know what happened, but it had that exact same funk that the corn cakes had but ten times worse.
All I could muster was a single bite out of one cracker. It tasted chemically, and weirdly coated my teeth as soon I started chewing.
I couldn't even finish one cracker these were so bad. JUST BUY THE REGULAR RITZ FOR GOD'S SAKE!
Rating: 0 / 5
Biskwi Chocolate Vanilla Cookies
A package of the chocolate vanilla cookies.
This was the only item that I bought from my local Dollarama that wasn't from the "D" brand, but it was the most generic Oreo replacement they had.
These chocolate vanilla cookies by Biskwi smelled actually pretty good and similar to the name-brand thing.
As a matter of fact, the cookie itself tastes pretty close to the original, but with a bit of that patented Dollarama "funk" that every other item has had so far.
As for the vanilla filling? It had a super-strong chemical taste. So much so that I actually had to spit it.
Rating: 2 / 5
Gourmet D Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar Chips
A single one of the kettle cooked chips.
I would be lying if I said I hadn't been to a few events that serve Dollarama bought chips, so I had higher expectations for this than the others.
And those expectations were sort-of met.
The chips had a great seasoning that tasted identical to any other brand's Salt & Vinegar flavouring, but the potato chips fell prey to the same thing everything else did: The funk.
Whether it's something in the packaging, where they're stored or what, it seems like so many of these generic brands can't avoid that musty, old, stale funk!
That being said, these were pretty alright.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
D Rice Crackers
A package of rice crackers.
As someone who typically doesn't like rice crackers, I wasn't expecting a lot. However, these might be one of the better items I had.
They taste exactly like any other rice cracker I've had in my life.
And yes, of course, they had a bit of a stale chemically taste, but honestly, it wasn't all that distracting.
You could easily serve these up on a party spread and your guests would never know they were the Dollarama brand!
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Gourmet D Macaroni & Cheese
A bowl of the prepared macaroni and cheese.
Like any Canadian, I love Kraft Dinner. So, when I started boiling the water I thought to myself "there's no way this would be as good at KD."
And you know what? I was right.
The noodles themselves tasted pretty standard, but as soon as I added the cheese mixture and made them, things went downhill.
At first, it tasted pretty close to that childhood staple, but an aftertaste of cheap plastic quickly settled in.
This is likely the product of cheap packaging as the cheese powder came in a very low-quality plastic baggy.
Adding ketchup did mask that a bit, though.
Rating: 1 / 5 without ketchup
Rating: 2 / 5 with ketchup
Gourmet D Nature Mix
The nature mix inside the package.
And now for my favourite item!
A mixture of cranberry and nuts is an easy thing to execute, but the way things have been going for Dollarama with the rest of the items I've tried, they need this break.
The nature mix tasted like a real trail mix and had a good proportion of dried fruit to nuts.
Plus for the price of $2, you're getting something that tastes pretty similar, if not identical, to what you would get anywhere else.
Okay, yes, it's super hard to f*ck up nature mix, but let's let them have it!
Rating: 5 / 5
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