Traditional Canadian Food You Need to Try

Welcome to Canada, the land of the free and the home of fast food chains restaurants. Canada doesn’t only have an abundance of fast food restaurants, it also serves up some pretty amazing traditional food found only in Canada.

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Traditional Canadian Food to Try When Visiting Canada

While Canada may not be the most powerful nation on earth, it definitely has a formidable culinary scene. It is definitely true that Canadians frequent fast food restaurants regularly, however Canadians can whip up some pretty awesome traditional food that can only be found in Canada. When travelling from Canada’s east coast to west coast, you will unearth many foods widely available only in Canada. You would be missing out when visiting Canada if you didn’t taste the best of Canada’s traditional food. Let’s get started!

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I would be remiss if I didn’t begin with poutine as a traditional food for Canadians. Afterall, poutine has become known as the national food of Canada. This decadent dish originated in the Province of Quebec during the 1950’s. The original version of poutine was a plate of french fries doused with gravy and cheese curds. The dish has become so popular and loved that it has evolved over the years. It now can include many other ingredients, including onions, chili, and chicken, and anything else that you can think of. However, in my opinion, nothing beats the taste of the original poutine which is still available at every Canadian restaurant.

Poutin has been touted Canada's National food.  It can be purchased in restaurants across the Country

Tortierre – Canada’s Meat Pie

Torchiere is known as Canada’s Meat Pie. Like poutine, torchiere originated in the Province of Quebec and dates as far back as the 1700’s when Quebec was a French Settlement. Canadians save this dish of ground beef, onions, and savory seasonings for special occasions. It’s not often that you’ll find torchiere in a Canadian restaurant, but if you do, I highly recommend you snatch it up.

Butter Tarts

Nothing screams traditional Canadian food quite like butter tarts. These sweet tarts were said to have been created in Barrie, Ontario in the early 1900’s. The original butter tart consisted of a golden crisp tart shell filled with butter, sugar, and eggs. The creation of the tarts evolved to include pecans or almonds, and even in some cases bacon. Canada celebrates its butter tarts at festivals throughout the Country in the Spring of every year.

Butter tarts are a sweet desert created in Canada.  The original version has now expanded to include many different ingredients, including bacon

Pineapple Pizza

I’m sure it will surprise you to learn that the Pineapple Pizza was not created in Italy. Nor was it created in Hawaii. The sweat and savory pizza was created in Canada in 1962. Even though the Hawaiian pizza was created in Canada, there remains a great deal of debate whether or not pineapple should be a pizza topping.


The story has it that donairs were originally invented in either Greece or Turkey. There is also a claim that they were invented in Germany. While the history of the donair is unclear, it is known that in the 1970’s a Canadian restaurateur from Halifax began creating his own version of the donair. The mouth-watering pita wrapped around spiced ground beef, tomatoes, and onions, topped with sweet garlic donair sauce has remained a fan favorite of Nova Scotia.

Peameal Bacon (Canadian Back Bacon)

Canadian back bacon is known by Canadians as bacon. This bacon cut from a boneless pork loin and rolled in cornmeal was developed in Toronto in the early 1900’s. Even though peameal bacon is a traditional Canadian food, it is most popular in Ontario. It is said that peameal bacon is a healthier choice to regular bacon.

Kraft Dinner

Kraft Dinner is a staple in every Canadian household with children. Kraft Dinner, not to be confused with mac and cheese, is a box of pasta with processed cheese. Cook it up and mix with butter and milk and you’ve got one of Canada’s traditional comfort foods. For less than $3.00 Kraft Dinner is an inexpensive quick meal that everyone loves. It is available in grocery stores Canada wide.

Kraft Dinner is Canadians version of mac and cheese.  It's one of the many comfort foods that Canadian's enjoy

Canadian Maritimes Lobster

While lobster didn’t originate in Canada, it has become a staple in Canada’s Eastern Provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Due to the abundance of lobster found in the Atlantic Ocean, Canada has become the supplier of over half the world’s lobster. Typically the lobster season in Canada is in the Spring and again in December. Although Canadian Maritimes Lobster is extremely popular in Eastern Canada, it is not widely consumed across the Country.

Traditional Canadian Sweets and Treats

You haven’t tasted the best of Canadian traditional food without trying Canada’s most favorite sweats and treats.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup not only tastes delicious, it is part of Canada’s culture. This sweat maple syrup enriches the taste of pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and much more. Canada’s aboriginal people taught its earliest settlors how to harvest the sap from the trees. Although maple syrup is mostly harvested in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, it is a household staple across the Country. Find a Maple Syrup Festival near you.

Maple syrup is one of Canada's customary foods and is a staple in many households.  There are many maple syrup festivals throughout Canada

Ketchup Chips

In the 1970’s Hostess gambled on the fact that Canadians loved ketchup so much that they created ketchup chips. The chips instantly became a hit in Canada. They have become a Canadian classic treat that can only be purchased in Canada. The crispy, ketchup covered potato chips are enjoyed across the Country by all.

Nanaimo Bars

The recipe for this sweet (very sweet) dessert first appeared in 1952. In 1985, the Mayor of Nanaimo, British Columbia launched a contest to find the best recipe for nanaimo bars which resulted in the Canadian recipe for Canada’s nanaimo bar as we know it today. This easy to make, no bake dessert consists of custard flavored butter, topped with a chocolate ganache, all carefully layered on top of a graham wafer crumb crust. Nanaimo bars quickly became a popular dessert across Canada.

Beaver Tail

This sweet pastry was developed in a small town just outside of Ottawa by Grant and Pam Hooker. The beaver tail, also known as the Canadian donut, is dough deep fried to a golden brown and garnished with a variety of toppings, including sugar, chocolate, and vanilla icing. The beaver tail was first offered for sale at the Killaloe Craft and Community Fair and can now be found at fairs across the Country. The beaver tail was named after Canada’s national symbol, the beaver.


Traditional Canadian Drinks

Ice Wine

Ice wine is a sweet wine which many accompany with sweet desserts. I personally find it a little too sweet for my taste buds, so I pair it with dry cheese. In order to produce ice wine, the climate must be hot during the summer months and cold throughout the winter months. Canada has the perfect weather which makes it the world’s largest supplier of ice wine. Due to the extra work involved in creating one bottle of ice wine, the cost far exceeds that of a regular bottle of wine. Canada’s ice wine is much more expensive than a regular bottle of wine.

PRO TIP: The Niagara Region of Ontario celebrates the “liquid gold” produced in Canada in at the Ice Wine Festival which is held in January every year in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Find out if you’ll be in Canada during this year’s Ice Wine Festival


The conventional Canadian Caesar is a spicy blend of vodka, clamato juice, worcestershire sauce, celery salt, dash of hot sauce and pepper, and garnished with a celery stalk and lime wedge. Like poutine, many bars and restaurants have added its own twist by adding dill pickles and shrimp. When ordering this popular Canadian drink, you can request the bartender to hold the spice.

FUN FACT: Canadians drink Caesar’s in the morning after a night of heavy drinking. It is thought to help with hangovers.

Caesar's are a traditional spicey Canadian cocktail

Bagged Milk

While Canada definitely wasn’t the inventor of milk, it is the only Country where milk is sold in bags. It is possible to purchase milk in a carton in Canada, however, most families purchase it by the bag as it will last longer. The tip of the bad is cut and the bag is placed in a special milk container. Do not cut the entire bag open 🙂

Canada is the only Country in the world where milk is sold by the bag.  It's a true Canadian tradition

Tim Horton’s Coffee

Tim Horton’s Coffee, fondly referred to as Tim’s or Timmies, was founded by the famour NHL hockey player, Tim Horton in 1964. In 2014 it partnered with Burger King and became a Canadian-USA owned Company. When on a road trip throughout Canada, you will find a Tim Hortons on every corner of every city. Canadians love their timmies to this day, which makes this Canadian coffee a chain a staple throughout Canada.

Tim Horton's is a Canadian coffee chain founded by ex-NHL player, Tim Horton, in the 1960's

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That’s a Wrap!

Since Canada is cold for 6 to 7 months of the year, the customary food of Canada offers Canadians warmth and comfort throughout the Winter months, hence has been fondly labelled “comfort food”. Wherever you are travelling in Canada, I recommend that you track down at least one of the traditional foods of Canada.


Kelly xo


40 thoughts on “Traditional Canadian Food You Need to Try

  1. Mitch

    I think I need to go to Canada immediately to try all the food! I knew of maple syrup (which I adore) and poutine (which I really want to try) but was not aware of many of the other classic Canadian dishes. I would love to try all of these, particularly the poutine, torchiere, donair, bacon and lobster. All the drinks sound eminently quaffable as well- I love ice wine and didn’t realise that Canada is the world’s largest supplier of ice wine. Also – I had no idea that pineapple on pizza was a Canadian invention! Great post – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      If you love ice wine, then you have to visit Canada. The Niagara Region of Ontario (which is where NIagara Falls is) has over 100 vineyards. It’s a fun day out hopping from winery to winery


  2. Carolin | Solo Travel Story (@SoloTravelStory)

    Canadians do love a savoury and warming meal, I’m impressed. The poutine is a dish I love, too and there are a few fast food chains in Germany that do an excellent French fries with a variety of toppings. The Ketchup Chips, I take it are ketchup flavoured? I’ve seen the over here, too. Pombear in particular and FunnyChips are brands that spring to mind when thinking of ketchup flavoured chips/crisps, but I can imagine the flavour is much more intense in Canada-

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Melanie

        Ketchup is best in chip form! (Okay, it’s also good on burgers, but not much else.)

        Great round-up of Canadian foods. I love all things maple syrup, and I’m genuinely shocked when people in other countries taste it and don’t like it as much as I do. I’m proud that butter tarts and nanaimo bars were created here, as we clearly love our sweet treats 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. awakenedvoyages

    It’s only 9 am here and I am having my coffee and salivating over your Poutine picture! Instead I’ll console myself with some french toast and maple syrup which I never run out of. I didn’t know there were so many popular dishes in Canada but there are definitely some i’d like to try! Beaver Tail for sure as I love donuts and I’ve never tried Tim Horton’s coffee but they are opening one in my town soon and I know a couple of friends who are excited about that so I am now excited too and can’t wait to try it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. James Fahey

    Your post has reminded me of the tasty Poutine I ate in Montreal all the way back in 2015! I visited for a formula one race and fell in love with the city. and the food. And the fast food was so good!! The smoked meat too was sublime. Ohhh the memories! Took me a while to get my head around bagged milk too but that’s awesomely unique 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  5. BlondeAroundTheWorld

    This post reinforced the idea that I really have to visit Canada ahah
    I figured Pineapple Pizza didn’t originate in Italy, since Italians think it’s a huge mistake to put fruit on pizza 🙂
    Maple Syrup is my favorite to go with pancakes, I’m just sorry that in Portugal it’s not so easy to find in supermarkets!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      Yes! You need to come and visit our beautiful (and sometimes cold) Country. I agree, that fruit has no business on a pizza. I’m not a fan of the pineapple pizza. In fact, I won’t eat it at all


  6. Barry

    I’ve tried poutines in Canada and adored them. A very simple and easy meal to make and serve and also relatively cheap to buy, if you travel on a budget as I often do. They are filling too so I had a few version of them including the national basic version.
    Friend of mine still have the discussion about pineapple on pizza – personably I love it but I never knew it was invented in Canada. Talking of Tim Hortons, they have opened their first branch of this chain the UK not long ago.
    Ketchup chips would be the one I would go for on your list, as I love them together – a great idea that gets my vote.
    I never realised that there were so many authentic Canadian foods. As you say, Canada is not a country you easily associate with cuisine.


  7. Luke Young

    Oh my gosh, I shouldn’t have read whilst hungry!

    So for starters, we’ll have the poutine – Russ would be all over that, and I am as well! Is the meat pie similar to a Cornish pasty?

    I’m all over the pineapple pizza as well. Controversial for some, but it’s the best pizza topping, in my opinion. I’ve never heard of a Kraft dinner, but that sounds up my street! You can’t beat cheap and cheerful, and at times – needs must!

    Maple syrup? Well, that’s a staple. Ahh, BEEP this – I’m moving to Canada!

    Bagged milk is weird, though.

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing, but now I want a Kraft dinner!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Agnes

    I like Canadian food, but now I know I have quite a long list of dishes I haven’t tried yet! I didn’t think there were that many. My favorite treats are Canadian bacon and maple syrup. I also love butter tarts. I had no idea that Pineapple Pizza was created in Canada. I have eaten it many times, but mainly in Europe. So it’s time to try it in the place of origin! I also add to my list tasting Ice Wine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. thedctraveler

    You know, I thought I was doing well with trying a lot of traditional Canadian food, but I still have a bit to go! The meat pie sounds delicious as well as a donaire. Guess I’ll just have to keep eating my way through Canada!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Josy A

    I am a fan of so many of these! I love butter tarts (don’t tell my husband, but I like them as much as mince pies) but when I had a Nanaimo bar in Nanaimo, it was a bit too rich and sweet for me. I like the less authentic ones in Vancouver slightly more…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I’m with you on the Nanaimo Bars. I can’t eat them anymore, they’re way to sweet. I’m also a fan of butter tarts. I recently had one with bacon in it which was quite an interesting combination. It was made by the Mennonites.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Josy A

        Oooh that sounds really good!

        I mean, butter tarts are also very sweet. I think it was the mix of sugar and fat that made the real Nanaimo bar a bit too rich for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Emma

    After a dozen plus years living here and even now having my Canadian passport there are a few on this list I still can’t get behind. Poutine? Not a fan. KD? Tried it, hated it (I think one of those things you had to grow up with). Pretty much any of the sweets though. Beaver tails, butter tarts and maple syrup are all winners in my books. I didn’t see milk in a bag until I visited my in-laws in Ontario. Not a BC thing at all


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