Photo of a bagel


Canadian cuisine is as diverse as the locals, with a wide range of foods being considered the country's national dish. Everything from poutine to Montreal style bagels to salmon jerky have been thought of as essential Canadian dishes. Here is a list of some of the most beloved foods that every traveller to Canada must try.

Montreal Smoked Meat

Montreal-style smoked meat is not a normal sandwich add-on. This deli staple is all brisket, and is marinated for several hours at a time creating a bold, smoky flavour. This savoury and tender meat is perfect for a sandwich, but it is just as good on its own; either way make sure to try this Canadian favourite.

Where: Set out for Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen for some of the best smoked meat in the city at around A$10.


No trip to Canada is complete without poutine. This star attraction of Canadian cuisine is made of crispy fries topped with thick gravy and cheese curds. But, don't stop there, feel free to add meats, onions or really any sort of topping your taste buds may be craving.

Where: While any Canadian diner with fries on the menu will typically offer poutine, the best place to chow down on this French Canadian cuisine is Poutini's House of Poutine for only A$7.

Beaver Tails

Beaver Tails are essentially a flattened donut without a hole. These decadent desserts are made of fried dough and are topped with any sort of fixings you want such as chocolate, Nutella, nuts, fruit, marshmallows and the list goes on. Whether you have a desire for a savoury treat or sweet dessert, a Beaver Tail can be made to your liking.

Where: Of course the only place to buy a Beaver Tail is at BeaverTails. With locations all over Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick these $A4 are easy to find and enjoy.

Montreal Bagels

At first Montreal Bagels do not appear different from any other bagel you can find around the world, but that is only until you take a bite. Every single Montreal Bagel is handmade, poached in honey-infused water, and cooked in a wood-burning oven or it is simply not a Montreal Bagel.

Where: For only A$8 for a dozen, Fairmount Bagel is the place to test out these freshly made breakfast essentials.

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars—named after the city in British Columbia—are a no-bake bar consisting of three layers: a crunchy base usually featuring graham cracker crumbs and chopped nuts, a custardy middle and a chocolate topping. This common Canadian dessert comes in several variations but according to the locals, the classic recipe for this rich, tri-layer bar is the by far the best.

Where: Of course, the best place for a Nanaimo Bar is at their birthplace in the city of Nanaimo where the superior destination for this treat is Java Expressions (A$5).

Butter Tart

Even after filling up on Nanaimo Bars and Beaver Tails, make sure you have room for a Butter Tart. This traditional Canadian pastry has a flaky exterior and a sugary filling. Often times these heavenly treats are topped with raisins, walnuts and pecans.

Where: If you are on the hunt for the finest Butter Tart in Canada, head to The Sweet Oven, which serves nothing but tasty butter tart varieties for only A$2 each.


This Canadian staple is basically a meat pie made of pork, onions and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Feel free to add in veggies, potatoes or bonus meats just as long as it can all fit in the pie crust. This deep-rooted French Canadian dish makes for a hearty dinner that most definitely will keep you full.

Where: Even though this delicious dish is commonly consumed on holidays, it is still easy to find year round. Especially at Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec, where this eatery is renowned for specializing in traditional Quebecois culinary treats, with Tourtière (A$21) at the top of their list.

Peameal Bacon

Otherwise referred to as Canadian Bacon, Peameal Bacon is lean pork loin that's brined and rolled in cornmeal. Unlike traditional bacon, this delectable breakfast side is not smoked and is often much sweeter than other types of bacon.

Where: Dine at Carousel Bakery for a world renown Canadian bacon sandwich (A$9), or as the restaurant calls them—World Famous Peameal Bacon Sandwiches.

Ketchup Chips

Sounds strange at first, but Ketchup Chips are a Canadian favourite. This winning snack is definitely a puzzling one, but it is always well liked. Often considered a less salty version of salt and vinegar chips with just a hint of tomato, Ketchup Chips are a Canadian staple.

Where: Any grocery store above the border.

With a mix of meat, sweet treats and Ketchup Chips it is no wonder why Canadian cuisine is considered such a melting pot. However, before you dive into all these delicious dishes, make sure you have travel health insurance just in case a quick trip to the doctor is needed after one too many butter tarts.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Heidi De Vries; cropped from original