Canada is a multicultural country and so many influences have found their way into the very fabric of Canadian society. This is especially noticeable in food and drink where you can find inspiration taken from Europe, China, North and South America and India.
Because hunting is a popular sport and occupation in Canada you will find that meat is the staple diet of many Canadians and vegetarians may struggle in rural towns and villages although the large cities such as Vancouver and Victoria do have many independent little vegetarian, vegan and organic restaurants dotted about.
Barbeques are a very popular way of eating in the summer and almost every garden comes equipped with a barbeque.
National Canadian Food
There are a few national dishes that you'll find on the menu and following a survey conducted by the Globe and Mail through social media, these are the dishes most Canadians associate with their country:
- Poutine. This is a dish that originated in Quebec but is now found all over Canada. The main ingredients are french fries, gravy and curd cheese. Other options include beef, pork, lamb, fish, rabbit, etc.
- Butter Tart. A hugely popular dessert that consists of a flaky pastry shell filled with butter, syrup, sugar, raisins and egg and baked so that the top is crunchy whilst the filling is soft.
- Maple Syrup. This is the classical Canadian syrup that is poured onto just about everything, from ice cream to pancakes.
- Kraft Dinner. Basically macaroni and cheese which is packaged by Kraft Foods and sold everywhere, including fast food outlets.
- Montreal Bagel. This is a bagel that has been handmade and baked in a wood fired oven.
Other Canadian foods include Salmon jerky, ketchup chips and Nanaimo bars (biscuit bar filled with vanilla or custard and a chocolate coating). There are also regional Canadian dishes that are particular to that area.
On the city streets of Canada you will find an abundance of gourmet food stalls selling hot food to go. The hog dog is obviously a speciality here but you will also find smokies which are Ukrainian sausages, poutines which are a Polish dish much like pasties only with a more suet type of pastry, pizza slices and falafel which is a deep fried ball made of chick peas or beans.
Canadian beer used to be brewed exclusively in Canada but with the sale of many large breweries such as Molson and Labatt to foreign companies, most beer is brewed abroad. Moosehead is the largest Canadian owned brewery.
- Ice Beer is based on a German beer and is very popular in the summer months. Often ice beer will have a layer of ice on its surface.
- Cream Ale uses a top fermenting ale yeast to give a creamier taste and look.
- Craft Beer includes the brand Budweiser which owns many of the country's craft or microbreweries.
Canadians also make their own wine, whisky (which is a rye whisky) and cider.