While traveling through Canada, there are a few quintessential menu items your family just has to try. Sure, you’ve had your fair share of maple syrup and know all about about Poutine and Molson beer, but there’s so much classically Canadian cuisine worth seeking out.
No matter the meal, or family member’s age or taste, there’s bound to be something on this list that can make you feel right at home in Canada.
Beginning in Montreal, there are two menu items your family needs to try: local bagels and smoked meat. Montreal-style bagels might not be your first thought when you consider great bagels — ahem, New York — but they should be. Made with malt, eggs and honey, these carb treats offer a different take on the classic favorite.
Another breakfast option you should try, peameal bacon. Also known as Canadian bacon in the States, this boneless pork is wet-cured, unsmoked and trimmed from lean pork loin. The meat is typically rolled in cornmeal and sliced like ham to serve, but more tender and less fat. Try it on a breakfast sandwich, or plain on its own to get the full flavor.
Next up, smoked meat. Montreal-style smoked meat is essentially brisket made with kosher-style deli meat. The meat is heavily salted, cured and smoked with an onslaught of spices. The smoked meat is finally steamed and complete, typically served like a makeshift sandwich with sides, or fork and knife. The little ones might be less-inclined to opt for a whole sandwich on their own, but you can use them as the perfect excuse to “share” one.
Another North American classic with roots in Scotland, but perfected in Canada, bannock is a great addition to a hearty meal. The quick bread is basically fried dough and cut into sections. Perfect for all ages and can be a side dish to the meal, or on-the-go snack. While a little messy to eat with your hands — prepare with napkins — this bread is reminiscent of an old-fashioned biscuit.
If you happen to be in and around the water-encompassed Nova Scotia, it should be second nature to try Nova Scotian lobster rolls. With the main ingredient caught fresh daily in the area, the local favorite earned its accolades for a reason.
Now, on to the sweet tooth. Saskatoon berry pie and butter tarts are another regional must and will satisfy any crumble lover in the group. Canadian Prairie Saskatoon berry pie is your typical homemade favorite served with vanilla ice cream, but made with Saskatoon berries in the filling.
For something a little less fruity and a little savory, butter tarts are a great end to a Canadian meal. Butter tarts consist of butter, syrup, sugar and eggs baked into a pastry until the filling is hardened a little and there’s a crunch on top.