Canadian Food - eh!

Ash has sent through her review of Canadian food! Travelling is a wonderful way to sample different cuisines and local delicacies. Have a read through what she has found herself eating. 

Being a dietitian everywhere we go I am consistently whipping out the camera to take a photo of different foods. Food is my passion. Additionally I will order and try a diverse range of foods and restaurants whenever I can. Typically I enjoy the healthier alternatives but some cultural foods have been passed down for generations and are well worth trying when you visit a new place.

Foods commonly eaten in Canada:

Many of these foods aren't necessarily "Canadian" as Canada has many existing British and French influences. Late in the 15th century both French and British expeditions explored, settled and later battled over the Atlantic Coast. Since settlement and confederation there has been immigration of many different nationalities into Canada. In addition to this, their close proximity to the USA has impacted upon food favourites.

Poutine: How greasy can you get? Apparently this dish originated in Quebec. It consists of hot chips topped with gravy and cheese curds. There are many creative variations, I found these http://www.foodbeast.com/2013/01/15/38-poutine-dishes-that-will-knock-your-canadian-socks-off/ I can't believe how high in saturated fat many of these dishes are! To me its heart disease waiting to happen, but again part of the culture here.

 

Alberta Beef: Beef cattle production is Alberta's largest agricultural sector and Alberta is the largest cattle producing province in Canada. We were lucky enough to enjoy some (pretty massive) steaks at our friends place in Legal. Absolutely mouth wateringly delicious!

Maple Syrup: A big fan of this one. We were cooked some scrumptious ricotta and lemon flapjacks (pancakes) cooked for us one morning topped with fruit salad and wonderfully sweet maple syrup. Quebec is by far the largest producer of Canadian maple syrup and is responsible for about three-quarters of the world's output. Exports of maple syrup exceed $145(CAD) million per year. I was sad we didn't have the chance to visit a maple farm and tap some syrup. Next time ;).

Canadian Bacon: Do you like pasta? Add bacon to it. Do you like breakfast muffins? Add bacon to it. Do you like pancakes? Add bacon to it! Apparently you can add bacon to anything in Canada and its acceptable. These were bacon and egg multigrain muffins again which were fried up by mike. According to my Canadian friends it's more so like ham.

Coffee: Fresh filtered coffee can be found anywhere and everywhere! This includes majority of Canadian home residences, bakeries, supermarkets, and gas stations. It's a common Canadian essential. Tim Hortons is a popular franchise chain, however has just been bought out by Burger King much to the dismay of Canadian pride!

Wings (From the USA): A classic night out, usually on a Wednesday isn't complete without wings. We I tried some of these bad boys in Jasper at Champs Pub. There are many different flavours such as salt and pepper, chili, dill and pickle and BBQ. They come in baskets of 10 and are drowned in a lot of sauce! Skin still on the chicken too. Not exactly a dietitians dream, but you have to try it!

Game Meat: Boar, bison, caribou, rabbit, elk and deer. I only managed to sample moose. Moose tastes closest to beef in my opinion. Apparently people with hunting licenses go in a draw to be able to hunt the moose each year. Then if you are native you are able to hunt the moose too on your land. They are such huge animals!

Pierogis (From the Ukraine): Ok so these are Ukrainian but still very popular in Canada. You will find them on the majority of pub menus and are any easy thing to stock your freezer with. Home made are the absolute bomb! They look like dumplings and are traditionally stuffed with potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit (or a combination). Here in canada they often also stuff them with bacon - of course! They are served with various toppings or sauces. You can guarantee there will be some sour cream or hot sauce available on a table of fresh served Canadian perogies.

Saskatoon Berries: Saskatoon is city found in the province of Saskatchewan. These berries are native to the Canadian prairies, British Columbia and Northern Canada. Tasting similiar to blue berries they are often used to make Saskatoon berry syrup and jams.

Ceasars: Ceasars are cocktails made from clamato juice (clam broth and tomoato juice) vodka, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce. They are served with ice in a large, celery salt-rimmed glass and garnished with a variety of specialties. Not really my thing, but a big hit here in Canada and found in every pub and restaurant.

"Health Foods:" Ok so its not all bacon and syrup! I did manage to find some pretty sweet health stores (Robson Whole Foods Market) and fresh food markets (Granville Island) in Vancouver with many of the latest and greatest health foods. Some examples included kimchi, kombucha, cacao, various nuts and seeds, coconut water and probiotic yoghurt (kefir).

A super amount of available salads.

Tonnes of available nut butters!

Differences compared to Australian food

  • For every one sauce, mayonnaise or condiments that exist in Australia, there are about another 4 that exist in Canada.
  • Cheddar cheese is ORANGE and seems very processed, not like our fresh white cheddar.
  • It is acceptable to add bacon to almost anything.
  • Maple syrup is a cupboard staple.
  • Coffee doesn't have to be boring in Canada, there are more options than you can imagine including gingerbread and candy cane varieties at Christmas time.
  • Foods tend to be heavier than Australia.
  • Because its so cold eating and drinking inside is a must and acceptable hobby.

Nutrition

To be honest, a lot of these foods are very high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. However, if you looked at "Australian" classics like meat pies, lamingtons, anzac biscuits and pavlova you could say similar. One thing is clear here in Canada, there is definitely no shortage or lack of variety in relation to food. Walmart, the Canadian Superstore and Costco are all available for a visit and very expansive. Little health pockets can be found within each individual city or town. Additionally similar to Australia, if you opt to cook fresh meals from home and make informed choices whilst dining out you can make alot healthier choices.

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Katrina Mills

Katrina is an enthusiastic and driven dietitian with a client-centered approach to nutrition and health. She understands the positive effects nutrition has on the ability to assist in recovery, ease symptoms and improve overall quality of life.