Famous Canadian Foods to Try on Vacation

10 Quintessentially Canadian Foods to Try in Niagara Falls

For many, traveling is all about getting out of the house and trying something new. One of the best things you can open your mind to on a vacation is new foods. When you think of Canada, you might not immediately picture unique cuisines, but you’d be surprised at the amount and quality of quintessentially Canadian foods available. Canada is a land rich in delicious and fascinating foods, so on your next trip to Niagara Falls, seek out some of the following top 10 Canadian foods and satisfy your craving for a culinary adventure.

Maple Syrup
Canadian Maple Syrup

1. Maple Syrup

Of course, one of the most Canadian foods to try has to be anything maple-syrup flavored. You’ve surely heard the phrase: “as Canadian as maple syrup,” and it’s no wonder, because the country produces around 80 percent of the world’s pure maple syrup and is the largest exporter of maple products globally. You’ll also find the iconic maple leaf front-and-center on the Canadian flag, so it’s not surprising that everything maple-flavored is closely linked with Canada.

When you’re on a visit to this part of North America, you’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to testing out maple products. For starters, enjoy some of the purest and freshest maple syrup you’ve ever tried on some pancakes or waffles, or chow down on baked goods with maple flavoring, such as doughnuts. There are also maple candies galore to try, with maple toffees being particularly popular. (These also make a wonderful souvenir to take home with you.) There is a lot of other Canadian food to try, but don’t miss out on what they are famous for.

2. Poutine

Americans might think of French Fries as one of their most patriotic dishes, but Canadians have added some flavors to these fried potato goodies to make it truly their own. Their concoction is called poutine. If you’re looking for a tasty, heart-clogging food to try in Canada, an ample serving of fries, layered with savory gravy and chewy cheese curds, will do just the trick. It will give you a classic local dish with a satisfying amount of flavor and texture.

Gourmet chefs have experimented with poutine and added ingredients like foie gras or black truffles over the years, but we’re partial to the regular standby. For something a little meatier without going too far from your everyday favorites though, just add some bacon or other meat to your poutine. Alternatively, use poutine as a side with a memorable Montreal smoked meat sandwich. This is a bit like the pastrami sandwiches found all over New York City in delis, but uses some different spices.

3. Butter Tart

You can’t make a list of top 10 Canadian foods without Butter Tart. If you’re looking for something sweeter when searching for a good Canadian food to try, order up a serve of butter tart. This no-fuss dessert has been around almost as long as Canada itself. It is comprised of a flaky, buttery, pastry shell filled with a type of custard made of butter, eggs, sugar, and syrup, usually of the maple variety. The tarts can be runny or firm, depending on the pastry chef’s inclinations; and they’re often topped with raisins or nuts for extra pizazz.

4. Nanaimo Bar

You might have had some of this slice before, but never realized that it actually originated in Canada and is another example of famous Canadian foods. The tasty Nanaimo bar is a no-bake, bar dessert which was named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia (it’s found on the pretty island of Vancouver Island, just off the coast of Vancouver).

Nanaimo bars are usually made with a graham-cracker crumb base, with some coconut and walnuts potentially added, then filled with a vanilla-custard center and topped with chocolate ganache. Amazing, right? There are numerous variations on this combination, too, such as peanut butter and mint chocolate, so there’s a bar to suit every taste. It has to be on your list of food to try in Canada. Maybe you’ll just have to try them while you’re in Niagara Falls!

5. Beavertail

If you’re a vegetarian, don’t be turned off by the name of this other classic Canadian sweet treat. Beavertails are essentially balls of dough molded into the shape of a beaver tail (hence the name) and then fried. After that (yes, there’s more!), the dough is topped with anything your heart desires. The most common toppings are chocolate and fruits, though various other candy bars are popular as well. This pastry concoction is decadent and delicious, so it’s strange that it’s barely heard of below the border. One of the less famous Canadian foods, Beavertail is still a must-taste treat!

6. Game Meat

The forests in Canada are extensive, with almost 90 percent of the country uninhabited. This means the wild animal populations are allowed to flourish, giving Canadians access to the choicest game meats anywhere in North America. If you identify as a carnivore, here are some of the meats you might like to try while visiting the Great White North:

  • Boar
  • Bison
  • Reindeer
  • Moose
  • Elk
  • Deer
  • Rabbit

7. Ketchup Chips

When you just need something to nibble on when relaxing in one of the top 10 hotels in Niagara Falls, pick up a bag of Canada’s favorite ketchup-flavored potato chips. Canadians swear by the salty chips which are doused in a tangy reddish powder, even if Americans have never caught onto the fad. We know you’ll fall in love with them as much as we have, though one piece of advice: keep a napkin handy to wipe the extra flavoring off your fingers, or you might see little red fingerprints all over your clothes and face. There is probably a good number of Canadians who will be outraged to learn Ketchup Chips are so low on a list of Top 10 Canadian Foods.

8. Bannock

Another Canadian delicacy to try out from a bakery or restaurant is bannock. Taking its name from a traditional Scottish flat bread, bannock is a type of griddled bread. It is a very versatile foodstuff and can be used as a replacement for standard bread in pretty much anything. It can be used instead of focaccia in gourmet sandwiches; made into a base for hot dogs or burgers; and eaten by itself but topped with things like icing and sugar to get a doughnut-like snack. If you’re planning to go camping while in the Niagara region, note that bannock can be made simply over a campfire, too.

9. Tourtière

You might have had plenty of meat pies in your time, but have you ever had a tourtiere? With the French-sounding name, it’s no wonder that this Canadian meat pie dish originated in the province of Quebec. It is typically made using ingredients such as pork, beef, veal, and/or potatoes, and wild game is also regularly added to give even more flavor. A traditional tourtiere with be loaded with perfectly spiced meat surrounded by flaky, golden crust, and it’s the perfect choice to warm you up in the winter months.

10. Montreal Bagels

If you’re a fan of bagels, you can’t leave Canada without having tried what are labeled as Montreal bagels, the signature baked goods of the city. These food items are smaller, denser, and sweeter than the type of bagels New York City is known for, and usually come topped with sesame or poppy seeds. To eat like a local, spread yours with lox and cream cheese.