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National dishes: Canadian cuisine

Spaghetti on fork

You can indulge yourself with many different national dishes coming from different backgrounds. They will vary depending on the region they originate from. In this article, we will explore the background behind Canadian cuisine as well as some of the most popular traditional dishes in Canada.

Origins of Canadian cuisine

To truly grasp how Canadian cuisine has formed, one should learn its origins. The influence in early Canadian cuisine mainly comes from English, Scottish, French, and indigenous people of Canada.

The influence of other cuisines has a strong presence in almost all Canadian dishes. However, there are several dishes that truly represent the traditional cuisine in Canada. Most traditional Canadian dishes usually have originated from the Metis people.

Metis played a large role in the origins of Canada. Their diet mainly consisted of such foods as deer, bison, moose, bannock, maple taffy, and pemmican.

In general, Canadian cuisine contains lots of bread and game meats. The most common way Canadians traditionally prepared their dishes were by stewing, brewing, and baking.

Let’s see which dishes are the most common in Canadian cuisine.

Saskatoon berry pie

apple pie on black palte

Saskatoon berries were picked and consumed by Canadian aboriginal people. Thus, this heavenly dish carries a true Canadian feel with it.

Saskatoon berry pie has a sweet and almondy taste to it. It is filled with saskatoon berry filling and often topped with a vanilla ice cream to make it even more heavenly. The crispy crust and sweet berry filling along with almond and vanilla notes will make a great highlight of your day.

Montreal style smoked meat

grilled meat on brown wooden chopping board

Montreal style smoked meat is a traditional dish made with special attention. It is a beef brisket salted and cured. Marinated with different spices and then cured for a week this traditional dish is then smoked and steamed to perfection. This process lets the beef acquire a heavenly taste to it.

Usually, you will find this dish served with a rye bread sandwich complemented by yellow mustard. It is sometimes even used as a rich topping for poutine.


Canada’s Aboriginal people used to eat this dish as part of their main diet. Traditional bannock is made from delicious bread that is either baked or fried.

If fried, bannock will usually be crispy and fluffy on the inside. If the dish is baked it is denser and heavier. Recently bannock has become more popular with intriguing variations of traditional bannock available in bakeries and cafes across the continent.

Butter tarts

brown cupcakes on silver tray

This type of pastry is one of the most traditional ones in Canadian cuisine and can be found all around Canada.

Butter tarts are simple and yet surprisingly good. They are made from flaky pastry shells that are filled with a mixture of butter, sugar, and egg filling. As a result, you get a crunchy top with a semi-solid filling in the middle. This dish makes a perfect representation of the wonders Canadian people can do with simple ingredients.

Maple taffy

Maple taffy is another sweet traditional dish that originates from Canada. This sugary candy has a truly Canadian spirit by being made from maple syrup. The syrup is boiled and then poured over the snow to create a truly hard maple candy. It is usually meant to indulge with right away by rolling it up on a popsicle stick.

Nova Scotia lobster rolls

person cutting lobster

Canada is a vast country with a long coastline. Therefore, it is only natural that its traditional cuisine involves seafood. You will be able to find delicious and fresh Atlantic and Pacific salmon, smoked salmon, East Coast lobsters, and arctic char readily available all across Canada.

One of the favorite Canadian traditional dishes featuring seafood is Nova Scotian lobster rolls. This dish is made from lobster filling packed in a grilled bun. The filling can vary in density. It can be either creamy or denser depending on the additional ingredients added.


This might be one of the sweetest traditional Canadian dishes. Beavertail is a deep-fried dough covered in many toppings. Though this dish is more modern than others, it is still considered to be indispensable to the traditional cuisine in Canada.

The toppings on this traditional dish usually include Nutella, Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter or similar toppings. This dish will be a perfect addition to experience modern Canadian cuisine at its best.


This Canadian dish is world renown. It is highly rewarding since it contains crispy fries, cheese curds, and rich gravy. All these ingredients are combined to create a comfort dish of your dreams.

This traditional Canadian dish has originated from French culture and now can be found in restaurants and homes all over the world. Slight variations of poutine are usually available. These are usually toppings like pulled pork or bacon.


Even though Canadian cuisine is greatly influenced by other nations, there is a distinct feature that all these dishes share. The traditional dishes in Canada consist of simple ingredients combined with such detail that they taste heavenly.

This is good news for those who enjoy a good and satisfying meal to indulge with. Either it will be a sweet treat or a deeply satisfying dish prepared with the finest quality meat, Canada has you covered.

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