Canada’s Lack of Cultural Food Identity

One of the things that we are most looking forward to here in India is sampling the food.

We have already enjoyed delicious meals unique to Indian Culture and their identity. Indian food has incredible flavour.  Great care is taken into preparing their food.

Canadian Food

As you read this, we are on a house boat cruising the backwaters of Kerala with our own private chef cooking the best of what India has to offer.  The other night our hosts at Skylark Guest house in Varkala cooked us a traditional Kerala meal and it was incredible.

Sanji spent all afternoon grinding coconut by hand, cooking banana'a for a delicious custard, we had an amazing vegetarian meal with shaved beets, potato curry, pineapple, grapes, a dish made out of the leaves from a tree in the back yard and so much more.  Our banana leaves were alive with colour and as we scooped up mouth fulls with our hands, we enjoyed different rich flavours with each bite.

We have only been in India a week so we really cannot write a blog post about food yet.  We aren't experts and don't know a lot about the cuisine of this country, but it will make for a great article later on in our trip.

Canada's Lack of Food Identity

All of the amazing uniquely Indian food has made me think about Canada and our lack of food identity.

Nobody ever says, “Let's go out for Canadian Food tonight.” And with good reason.  We don't have anything that really makes us stand out from the rest of the world.  We tend to have an international mix of cuisine in Canada. You can find Thai, Vietnamese, French, Italian, Moroccan or even Ethiopian in our hometown of Toronto.

You name a country, we have the food.  Even in small towns you will find a wide variety of international cuisine…So when you think about it, that is exactly what makes Canadian Food so unique.  We are diverse in every aspect of life in Canada and food is no exception.
We do have a few favorites that the rest of the world may or may not know about, so I thought that I would share a list of foods that are unique to Canada.

maple1. Maple Syrup

What tourist doesn't leave the country without a bottle in tow?  The maple tree is a national symbol and the syrup that it produces is scrumptious.  Come to Canada in the dead of winter and you can take a tour out to the woods and watch them tap a tree for fresh syrup.  Bring it home and smother it over pancakes and french toast, sausage or bacon.  Maple syrup makes anything taste better

2. Back Bacon

Speaking of bacon, Canadian back bacon is a famous.  Even Bob and Doug Mackenzie (aka Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) sang about back bacon for their 12 days of Christmas spoof.  It is part of our national identity.

3. Poutine

I think that the world is starting to adopt our little secret, but Poutine used to be a Canadian thing.  French fries draped with cheese curds and gravy is sinfully delicious.

Food_Beavertail3004. Beaver Tails

Head to any tourist destination and you can be sure to see people munching on Beaver Tails. No, they are not what you think they are, these delectable treats are made of fried dough shaped in the form of a beavers tail and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  They can also be topped with ice cream, whipped cream or jellies.

5. Nanaimo Bars

Named after the town in British Columbia, this dessert made of chocolate consists of a wafer crumb-based with a layer of vanilla butter icing covered in anther layer of melted chocolate. They may be called a different name somewhere else, but rest assured, Nanaimo Bars were invented in Canada.

tarts6. Butter Tarts

These are still a favorite desert of mine.  If I go to a buffet and butter tarts on the table, you can be sure that I will grab a couple.  Small pastry shells filled with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar and raisins creamed together to a delectable desert.

I am seeing a pattern of very unhealthy foods here.  Time to change gears a bit.

7. Smoked salmon

Our airports are filled with boxes of the stuff and ooh, we just love the smoked sockeye salmon. Eat it on its own or add some capers and goats cheese on some crackers.  Oh my mouth is watering as I write about it.

8. Lobster

Other countries eat lobster I know, but in the Maritime Provinces on Canada's East Coast, Lobster is a way of life.  And the lobster that comes from the East Coast of Canada is among the best in the world.

9. The Winnipeg Goldeye

O.K. I am grasping at straws for this one.  I need 10 and hey, it is unique to Canada and we cannot neglect our Prairie Provinces. The Winnipeg Goldeye is a silver fish found only in Manitoba's lakes and rivers that turns red when it is smoked.  Smoked fish, is a very popular food source in Canada.

10. Beer

It is a meal where we come from! Canadians like to think that their beer is superior to their southern neighbour's watery brew. As a matter of fact, we think that their beer is superior to everyone's. Canadians just can't figure out why the rest of the world doesn't feel the same way.


I really had to scramble to come up with 10 foods unique to Canada. But that is exactly what I love about my country.  We are a land made up of immigrants and settlers making it a true melting pot of cultures and cuisine.  Just like our national identity, our food is a blend of the best of every land on the planet.

When describing Canadian food, the only true distinguishing character is that there isn't one and we like it that way.

Now, time for me to go out and enjoy the best of what Indian cuisine has to offer. Yum!

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