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Jan 3, 2008 05:21 AM

Original Canadian Foods? Eh!

Aside from some aboriginal food creations and the butter tart and Nanaimo bar I can't think of any other Canadian Food dishes or specialty items. I/m wondering why, considering the resourcefulness of the the population. Any one have any other examples or theories on why this is so?

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    1. Pate Chinois? Tourtiere? Poutine? Creton? Granted they are all from Quebec, so maybe your point stands.

      3 Replies
      1. re: vanillagorilla

        Where I grew up Pate Chinois was also known as Shepherd's Pie, so maybe the name but not the dish are uniquely Canadian.

        btw there's another thread on this subject on the Western Canada board:

        1. re: maplesugar

          It's definitely based on a shepherd's pie, but it is a little different. The corn and creamed corn are not traditional in a real shepherd's pie.

          1. re: vanillagorilla

            Funny, there must be regional variations. I've never had (but I've heard of) creamed corn in Pate Chinois. In our house it was always ground beef topped w corn, then topped w mashed potatoes.

      2. What about ketchup chips? And ketchup powder for my popcorn? I just got back from Whistler and I'm already craving the stuff.

        18 Replies
        1. re: chloevu

          I grew up in Montreal and I love ketchup chips and poutine. oh and beaver's tails

          1. re: savvy savorer

            Aren't Beaver tails just Canadian elephant ears?

            1. re: GreenYoshi

              Which I suppose is just Indian fry bread, which I suppose is just zeppoli...

              1. re: GreenYoshi

                Not necessarily. There is a delicacy (similar to ox tail stew or soup) made from a beaver tail.


              2. re: savvy savorer

                we used to go to Montreal all the time, and there was this sandwich I fell in love with (most likely a tourist trap) but was a deli we would get take out from. the line would be out the door for these piled high meat sandwiches, like a corned beef? amazing sandwiches, can't remember the name of the place though.....
                chipped beef? no.... I can't remember. but everyone said it was a Montreal Landmark?

                1. re: nseattlefoodie

                  That would be the Montreal "Smoked Meat" sandwich.
                  I went to the regular store once, but they were also available at Expos game. Possibly the best stadium food I have ever had. (apologies to the philly cheesesteak at Citizens, the BBQ Bowl at Pac Bell and the Primanti sandwich in Pittsburgh.)

                  1. re: GreenYoshi

                    No I think you are mistaken, SHWARTZ"S is the smoked meat place, sorry, grew up in MTL

                    1. re: savvy savorer

                      yes that's it! Oh my goodness, it was amazing.

                    2. re: GreenYoshi

                      In the US you can order Montreal "Style" smoked meat from Harringtons in VT. Since i don't live as close to Montreal as I used to, it is a welcome alternative when the craving arises.

                      1. re: Candy

                        Growing up when we were in or around Montreal my folks would take me to (I hope I remember this right) either Ben's or Dunn's (two separate spots) to get smoked meat sandwiches. I live in North Carolina now and just discover that The Fresh Market here sometimes carries smoked meat, although I haven't had a chance to try some yet. Now if I can just find some spruce beer.

                        1. re: blackoak

                          I lived an hour south of Montreal from '59 on and off until '81 with frequent trips back. i never had spruce beer. It will be something to seek out next trip back. i am seriously contemplating dragging along my Food Saver to package and seal some St. Viateur bagels. My DH tries hard to emulate them on our grill and comes close, but they just not quite the same.

                    3. re: nseattlefoodie

                      That was Shwartz's and it is one of those institutions that tourists and locals alike love.

                    4. re: savvy savorer

                      Odd, I never heard of beaver's tails (queues de castor) in Montréal. Thought they were more an Ottawa thing.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        They're definitely an Ottawa thing, though it's possible the chain opened some branches in Montreal. Still, it's not the same if you're not freezing on the canal...

                        1. re: piccola

                          They opened a Queue de Castor in Old Montreal. But I don't know if it is still open. You are right, it is much better while skating on the Canal. There was also a branch in Quebec City.

                        2. re: lagatta

                          the chain started in ottawa but is now owned and franchised by a montrealer from my high school who also owns Moozoo

                      2. re: chloevu

                        are ketchup chips different than ketchup flavored chips? I've seen ketchup flavored chips down south. I've never heard of ketchup powder but it sounds awesome.

                      3. I think of peameal bacon, and the ubiquitous 'peameal on a bun' as a Canadian food.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                          Pemeal on a bun? Never had it sorry... I dunno if it qualifies as ubiquitous...regional maybe??

                          1. re: maplesugar

                            peameal on a bun is TOTALLY canadian...that's why it's called canadian bacon in the states, eh?

                            1. re: lolabella

                              All I meant was I've gone 30+ years and never seen "peameal on a bun" or bacon on a bun on a menu from east coast to west.

                              1. re: maplesugar

                                st. lawrence market is famous for peameal on a bun, and when emeril was in town he stopped by the market to try these's the kind of thing you'll see at roadside diners, or some totally canadian snack bar at a country flea market (in ontario, anyway) know, the same place that has a stack of homemade butter tarts at the counter!

                              2. re: lolabella

                                I've heard of it, I've even seen an article in Saveur magazine about artisinal peameal bacon. It isn't common out here in Vancouver (I have seen it at a few shops). Is it readily available where you live? We just get the common back bacon here.

                                1. re: fmed

                                  I only heard of peameal bacon in Ontario. Didn't see it in Winnipeg or Quebec, or in my limited wanderings in Vancouver. Is it in the maritimes? I've always thought of it as a regional thing, but I guess some of these other items are regional, and we're calling them Canadian, so I guess it goes.

                                  1. re: moh

                                    For some reason, in Ontario the cured pork loin was rolled in pea flour, but the practice died out when corn meal became cheaper (perhaps 70 years ago). The name peameal stuck, but you won't find it now, as it always rolled in cornmeal..
                                    There is another type of Canadian bacon sold in the U.S.: the pork loin is cured, rolled in corn meal, and smoked. It is firm and dry, much like Irish bacon, or smoked Vermont back bacon. It is served at Peter Luger as an app., and has quite a following.

                                    1. re: moh

                                      I've seen it in Ontario. Have been to the Maritimes many times before and never witnessed it there.

                                  2. re: lolabella

                                    I have had a peameal bacon sandwich at the St. Lawrence market and at the farmers market in St. Jacobs. Very tasty.

                                    1. re: lolabella

                                      Sad to say, there is no peameal bacon available now, as every meat shop in Canada uses corn meal.

                                      1. re: lolabella

                                        Peameal and Canadian bacon aren't the same. Similar but not the same. The big difference being Peameal is rolled in cornmeal and CB isn't.


                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          Canadian bacon is called back bacon in Canada. (It is much less fatty than the other kind of bacon).

                                  3. ;
                                    We're getting our list together;
                                    If you have a challenge on any food item or any other foods to add please let us know

                                    1) BUTTER TART
                                    2) NANAIMO BAR
                                    3) PEAMEAL BACK BACON
                                    4) FROZEN MAPLE SYRUP STICKS
                                    5) POUTINE
                                    6) TOURTIERE
                                    7) CRETON?
                                    8) PATE CHINOIS? (Shepherds Pie?)
                                    9) KETCHUP CHIPS
                                    10) MONTREAL SMOKED MEAT
                                    11) BEAVER TAILS
                                    12) INDIAN FRY BREAD
                                    13) PEMICAN (dried meat and fruit cakes)
                                    14) FISH &BREWIS ((Nwfndlnd)
                                    15) SEAL FLIPPER PIE (Nwfndlnd)

                                    And here are some items that came in from our Western Canadian friends;
                                    1) FRENCH CANADIAN PEA SOUP
                                    2) BANNOCK
                                    3) SALMON CANDY (aboriginal)
                                    4) HARD BREAD (Nwfndlnd)
                                    5) TARTE AU SUCRE (sugar tart?)
                                    6) SYRUP PIE?
                                    7) BLOODY CEASAR (with clamato juice)
                                    8) GINGER BEEF (Calgary Alberta)
                                    9) SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN BALLS
                                    10) WAR WON TON SOUP?
                                    11) SASKATOON BERRY PIE ( Saskatoon Saskatchewan)
                                    12) VENISON CABASSA (I first had it in Saskatoon) along with...................................
                                    13) YOUNG PIGEON/SQUAB NOODLE SOUP

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. I'm not at peace with the inclusion of Ginger Beef, War Wonton, and Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls.

                                      1. re: fmed

                                        I'm just making the list and these items came off the Western Canada-Calgary board. Can't say I blame you though for being a bit restless
                                        because I had never considered them Canadian either.
                                        Check with the man in Calgary.
                                        I found this article on Wikipedia about "Chicken Ball" origins;

                                        Canadian Chinese cuisine or Can/Chinese is a popular style of cooking exclusive to take-out and dine-in eateries found across Canada. It was the first form of commercially-available Chinese food available in Canada. This cooking style was invented by early Cantonese immigrants who adapted traditional Chinese recipes to Western tastes. This usually required altering cooking times, ingredients, and preparation methods so that the dishes were more agreeable to the Canadian palate. This cuisine developed alongside a similar version in the United States.
                                        OB; The key word here seems to be "adapted'. Wouldn't you agree?

                                        1. re: fmed

                                          maybe not wor wonton, but ginger beef is a 100% Canadian invention first prepared in Calgary. Chicken balls are Canadian as well- you won't find them on chinese resto menues in other countries.

                                          So please get comfortable with these two, because they belong on the list.

                                          1. re: John Manzo

                                            I didn't know that about chicken balls - I thought they were general "North American Chinese".

                                            Alberta ginger beef is a product of the many Chinese restaurants opened up by former railway workers - I suspect there might be different dishes with a similar name in other countries.

                                            Alberta ginger beef definitely belongs on the list, but chicken balls are a revelation...

                                            1. re: John Manzo

                                              Not saying they are not Canadian, however I did see chicken balls in Switzerland last week at a stand on the street in Bern.

                                          2. re: fruglescot

                                            Funny, I thought tarte au sucre was a Quebec thing! I first saw it when I moved to quebec. If it made its way out West, I would guess it was via the voyageurs.

                                            And since we talk maple sugar products: Sucre a la creme!!!

                                            1. re: moh

                                              Some contributors on the Western Canada board thread (me included) are from Quebec/Ontario. I think I was the one mentioning the tarte au sucre. I grew up on the Ont/PQ border and going to a sugaring off was a winter ritual. My grandparents had trees tapped on their farm. Incidentally Alberta doesn't appear to have an abundance of maple trees, the only maples I've seen out here are Japanese. I get my maple syrup through family who ship it from Quebec or from the Quebec booth at the Calgary Farmer's Market.

                                            2. re: fruglescot

                                              You may want to distinguish between two types of POUTINE. The more traditional one is some sort of potato dumpling from the Maritimes, the newer is the fries with curds and gravy.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                poutine râpée (Acadian)
                                                should have its own entry in the list

                                              2. re: fruglescot

                                                Screech. (Though not technically a food.)
                                                Ragoût de pattes.
                                                All the sugarbush recipes - eggs in syrup, etc.
                                                And I'm sure there are tons of regional recipes based on local crops - like blueberries, fiddleheads, garlic scapes, etc - that are not recognizably Canadian.

                                                1. re: fruglescot

                                                  My sister dated a Newf for a while and he always had a jar of pickled seal in his fridge. Great stuff.
                                                  My next door neighbour for a while was also a Newf. He made a "Jigs dinner" which was basically stew. Don't know if that would count.


                                                  1. re: fruglescot

                                                    Isn't tarte au sucre and syrup pie the same thing? The one time I had it, it was called sugar pie, but was basically a maple sugar/syrup pie.

                                                    I would add Hawkins Cheezies. Those other brands don't even come close!
                                                    Sucre à la Crème
                                                    Jigg's dinner