HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


American stuff (foodstuffs, equipment, etc.) you can't find in Canada?

I'm visiting the US for the holidays, and want to stock up on things that I can't find or have a hard time finding in Montreal. I'd already made American visitors bring me grits, orange tic tacs (just not the same when they're white), and powdered buttermilk. I finally found Old Bay Seasoning at a Jean Talon Market store.

Any other ideas? Does anyone else have things they're used to in the US that they can't find in Canada? Maybe unsulfered molasses?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not sure where you are in Canada, but a previous poster from Quebec said they didn't distribute Spam there.


    3 Replies
    1. re: monku

      Spam is available in Ontario, so our Quebec friend can go west to Cornwall if he doesn't want to cross south...

      1. re: monku

        If you read my posts on that thread, you'll see that Spam is actually relatively easy to find in Montreal.


        1. re: SnackHappy

          It was 4 months after the start of the thread when you made your discovery.

      2. Jif, key lime juice, real lemon extract, King Arthur flour,Fage yoghurt, Entenman's cheese danish (don't ask, it's a childhood thing).

        I'm sure I'll think of more stuff. I love doing groceries in the ole US of A.

        10 Replies
        1. re: maisonbistro

          western canada hear ,jif sobeys key lime coop ,fage i think i seen it at superstore ,as for the danish and the flour i dont know.

          1. re: howlin

            Fage doesn't import into Canada (trust me I've asked multiple times).

            1. re: Jasz

              yep your right .something about duty restrictions.boy im sure glad we got free trade.

          2. re: maisonbistro

            I in Quebec they don't need Fage, they have Liberte. That puts Fage out of the game. Really fine stuff.

            1. re: Candy

              Liberté is available here in Western Canada too and I agree it's g-o-o-d. But it's also really high fat and I've heard that the low/no fat Fage is supposed to be really good so I'd like the chance to try/buy it (I'm not really a fan of no fat yogurt as it doesn't taste like yogurt).

              1. re: Jasz

                Sorry to go OT but Jasz do you know/ could you point me to a thread that says where to find Liberte in Vancouver? I've been enjoying the Olympic Krema Vanilla Infusion (10 % butterfat) but would love to try the Liberte, in the absence of Fage. TIA.

                1. re: grayelf

                  I've found Liberte at Donald's Market, SuperValu (1st and Commercial), and a number of other places.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I'm not in Vancouver, grayelf; in Calgary I can find it at Safeway, Superstore, Sobey's...
                    This is from Wikipedia and it might help:
                    Liberté distributes its products to many smaller independent stores, but its main customers are:
                    - Loblaws
                    - A&P
                    - Dominion
                    - Y.I.G.
                    - Fortino's
                    - Sobey's
                    - Real Canadian Superstores
                    - I.G.A.
                    - No Frills
                    - Wal-Mart
                    - Whole Foods
                    - Pusateri's
                    - Byford Dairy

                    Btw, the Olympic is really good too.

                    1. re: Jasz

                      Thanks, guys -- I found it at my Safeway, tried the lemon which was nice but I think the Krema is closer to my beloved Fage :-).

                2. re: Candy

                  We have Liberte everywhere in Canada. I agree it's amazing.

              2. My wife is from the southern U.S. and we live in Toronto. You're right, definitely grits. She also brings back from "home" Zatarains mixes and spices (they cost a lot more in Canada), cottage cheese (to her the Canadian version is inedible), orange Tic-Tacs (as you mentioned), Solo canned poppyseed filling, which she uses to make poppyseed cake (yum!), Plugras butter, and BBQ stuff (spice rubs and sauces) which are generally cheaper and of better quality than what you'd find in Canada.

                If you use American recipes for baking, might want to buy American flour which has much lower gluten than the Canadian variety; using Canadian flour in an American recipe doesn't always yield a perfect result. American granulated sugar is more coarse compared to Canadian (which has much finer granules); the effect of which is, 1 cup of Canadian sugar weighs more than 1 cup of American, since there's less air space. But this doesn't have as negative effect as gluten in flour does.

                Look further down in the General board (this one!) for the thread about grocery shopping in Buffalo, NY (written mostly by cross-border shoppers from Toronto) for lots of ideas on U.S. food you can't get in Canada. Best hints -- for quality and selection go to Wegmans, for the lowest prices go to Aldi.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TexSquared

                  i love those little orange flavored tic tacs ,are they even better orange colored?.if so im gonna have to cross border more.oh ya ,found old bay at superstore .

                2. Hot Dogs (usually Nathans, but sometimes those ridiculously red ones)
                  Chips and Pretzels not available here like Snyders extra spicy
                  Cheap Beer
                  Huge Turkeys <$10

                  Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Fat Free Vidalia Onion dressing (possibly the best lo cal dressing in the world)
                  Smoked pork neck bones
                  Freezer Queen frozen sliced turkey and gravy
                  Shady Brook Farms ultra lean ground turkey (I appreciate the irony of buying cheap beer, hot dogs, and chips as well as fat free dressing and extra lean ground turkey...)
                  Skin-on Haddock fillets (you can only get skinless in Canada)
                  Cheap catfish
                  Frozen Crawfish
                  Cabot habanero cheddar cheese (quite spicy, puts jalapeno Havarti to shame)
                  Ultra cheap corned beef around St. Patricks day
                  House brand italian sausages
                  Cheap dog food (well at least before we lost good 'ol Bogie...)
                  Gas before returning to the border ($4/gallon is still a bargain for Canadians)
                  Snows clam chowder (both new england as well as manhatten)

                  was my response here

                  28 Replies
                  1. re: porker

                    oh sure ,rub the cheap beer in a canuks face .lol i hate paying 15 bucks for a yank 12 pack up here .although a found crawfish at the gimly market in winnapeg

                    1. re: howlin

                      Yeah, Canadian beer costs less in the U.S. than it does in Canada.

                      Go to topsmarkets.com, look at the weekly flyer at the beer prices. They usually carry Blue, Canadian, Moosehead, and others. On past trips I've picked up the Heineken mini-keg for $12.99 on sale at Price Chopper (New York State chain, not the one in Ontario).

                      1. re: TexSquared

                        your just being mean now .i still blame it on the libs

                        1. re: howlin

                          OK, now to really break your heart.. try this link and just look at those prices:


                          Oh yes, in Toronto, milk is $4 a gallon. In New York State, more like $1.99. Blame the dairy cartel for that....

                          1. re: TexSquared

                            Your link only reveals facial products that seem somewhat suspect.
                            Milk in Montreal is 3.35 a "gallon". Cheaper if you by 2 "gallons".

                              1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                Where do you find milk for 3.35 a gallon? If I buy the 3 bag container that ends up being ~1 gallon it's ~6 dollars. I haven't seen it for much cheaper anywhere.

                                1. re: Marta78

                                  You're right, Marta78. The minimum price of milk in Quebec is set by the Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec (RMAAQ) and right now it's $5.58 for 4 litres of 2% milk (1 US gallon = 3.79 litres)

                                  Here's the chart from the RMAAQ site: http://www.rmaaq.gouv.qc.ca/index.php...

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    Thank you so much for this info! Is there anything else that's similarly regulated (other than alcohol, of course)? Is it why cheese is expensive here, too?

                                    1. re: Marta78

                                      The only other I can think of is beer. I think a few provinces, including Quebec, have a minimum price for beer. I don't believe there's a minimum for wine or spirits.

                                      As for cheese prices, I believe there's system for pricing milk destined for transformation based on floor prices for butter and skim milk powder set by the Canadian Dairy Commission. I don't know how that affects the price of cheese or other dairy products, though.

                                      1. re: Marta78

                                        Poultry products. Compare the prices of turkeys, chickens, and eggs and yo'll see they're artificially high in Canada.

                                        I tell people who are cross-border shopping for the first time, to stock up on chicken, turkey, milk, cheese, butter, and eggs. The savings from those cartel items will more than cover the gas to drive round-trip from Toronto to Buffalo.

                                2. re: TexSquared

                                  Besides Lobster at 4.99 a pound in Montreal now you can also get a nice Strip Loin roast for 3.49/lb. Want something a bit fancier Beef tenderloin roasts are going for 8.88/lb here. 300 grams of smoked salmon 7.99.
                                  24 Sleemans or pretty much any beer better than you can buy in the states, 23.36/24.
                                  Stop looking south, bargains are awash up here.
                                  The beat goes on against

                              2. re: TexSquared

                                Blue? Canadian???? Friggin Moosehead? My goodness, I expect more than that on a foodie board...that ain't beer and it is not Canadian either (if you look at the ownership). Foodies shoud be prepared to commit to some of the wonderful microbrewed, Canadian owned brews. Support your small brewers!

                                Relevant to this thread though...LOTS of the stuff listed can be ordered online or found locally with a bit of research (with your local chow board being the first step) We try hard to support the little guys, not the mass producers wherever they are.

                                1. re: TexSquared

                                  There is nothing impressive about the topmarkets flyer. Sam Adams is 14.99 for 12. Sleemans is 13.99 for 12 all over Montreal now. In fact, all year round I can buy Sleemans at my corner store for 14.98 for 12. It's the equivalent beer.
                                  Lobster's on sale at 4.99 a pound in Montreal right now. Delusions about cross border shopping should be outlawed.

                                  1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                    Major difference between our two provinces. Reason for your fair prices on beer: you guys are fortunate enough to be able to buy beer at the supermarket (as they can do in New York) so there's competition between the stores. In Ontario, beer is sold at just two places, Brewer's Retail (a monopoly owned mostly by Labatt and Molson), or the LCBO (provincial government liquor store). So we have monopoly pricing on beer, meaning artificially high.

                                    If you want to laugh at us, here's where you can see our ridiculous beer pricing:
                                    http://thebeerstore.ca/ and http://lcbo.com

                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                      That is true, but wine is usually cheaper at the LCBO than at the SAQ (we can buy wine at supermarkets and dépanneurs, but it is just dreadful plonk and more expensive than cheap wine at the SAQ).

                                      1. re: lagatta

                                        Mmmm, cuvée dépanneur, helping border-area American college students get blitzed for cheap for decades.

                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                          Remember "Cuvée des Patriotes"?

                                          When the Pope came here he performed a miracle - transformed some bottles of Cuvée des Patriotes into wine!

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            I remember for years Brador had the stranglehold on young american tourist beer sales. Why? 'cause they were the only game in town over 5%, meaning a quick buzz.
                                            Nowadays, 6% seems like kidstuff.
                                            Apparently La Fin du Monde and Trois Pistoles are the quick-drunk beers of choice for american high schoolers and college students.

                                        2. re: TexSquared

                                          Gotta agree with you there. Quality beer in Quebec is available, literally, on every street corner cheaper than anywhere in Canada or the USA.

                                        3. re: everyonelovessushi

                                          Delusions, yes. However 30 beers for $17
                                          tack on 10% for exchange rate, 30 beers come in under $20CDN - thats about 65c per brewskie.
                                          You oftentimes see Gennessee or Old Milwaukee at $10 for 24...

                                          But I don't head south for prices, its to get stuff unavailable here, as in my post mentions above. I won't pass up a bargain, though, like 19c/lb turkeys at thanksgiving, or 23c/lb corned beef at st. patricks day...

                                          1. re: porker

                                            That stuff drinks like water. They don't even list the alcohol content on the package because it's so low. Don't pay, turn on the tap at your hotel instead. It's free.

                                            1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                              Actually, up until 1995, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives prohibited any mention of alcohol content on beer labels, fearing that breweries might engage in strength wars, flaunting the potency of their brews.
                                              Things are changing, but its not necessarily because of low alcohol that its not listed on the label.
                                              I'm quite ignorant of specific US laws, but I think that beer in general has had 2 strengths; 4% and 5%. This to satisfy state regulations on where and who can sell certain types (as in bible states, gas stations, supermarkets etc etc).
                                              To further murk the waters, US alcohol specifics are sometimes defined in % by weight, ie 3.2% by weight which is equivalent to 4% by volume...

                                              Anyways, I'm not here to say its like water or not (I sometimes tongue-in-cheek say drinking US beer is like making love in a canoe: f***ing close to water), all I'm saying is that its cheap. And theres something to be said about that...

                                              1. re: porker

                                                I believe there is a cutoff strength at which commercial beer has to be labeled malt liquor in the States. Even Singha comes (or used to) labeled "malt beverage" or some such due to its being over that magical percentage.

                                                1. re: porker

                                                  There's actually nothing to be said for touting cheap american beer prices when you know the product touted is garbage on every angle.

                                                  1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                                    Not all American beer is Bud Light, just like not all Canadian beer is Molson. Grow up.

                                        4. re: porker

                                          Cheap beer in the states certainly exists. You can drink water too, and it's free.

                                        5. Biscuits to make biscuits & gravy, deep dish pizza, tea to make thai iced tea.

                                          Thanks for letting us know about where to get old bay seasoning:)

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: hala

                                            Yes, I found it in that fish store that's way to the right when you walk in through the main entrance of Jean-Talon, past the butcher's, etc.. Crab cakes just weren't the same without. Oh, and I've picked up some canned lump crab meat, now, too.

                                            1. re: hala

                                              You don't need biscuits to make B&G. You need sausage. Jimmy Dean or I use Tennessee Pride.


                                            2. Had to make a quick cross-border trip Monday after work. Before returning, stopped in the Price Chopper, Champlain NY.
                                              Returning to Canada, I came across the nit-pickingest border agent I've seen in awhile (I don't know if he's new on the job (never seen him before and hes young) or if they're just cracking down for Xmas).
                                              Anyways, all I have is groceries, but the guy is going on and on.
                                              "Any alcohol?"
                                              "No alcohol?"
                                              "Thats right, no"
                                              "Any beer?"
                                              "No beer?"
                                              "Thats right, no beer."
                                              "Any wine? Are you bringing back wine?"
                                              "No wine?"
                                              "Thats right, no wine...no beer, no alcohol."

                                              It went like that for clothes, appliances, and tobacco products.

                                              Then he asks if I'm bringing any gifts across.
                                              Now I've got his attention.
                                              "What kind of gifts?" you could almost see the big AH HAH light up behind his eyes.
                                              "Lets see, a dry-cured salami, a couple SPAM single serves, habanero cheese, and blue potato chips. I might give the kielbasa away, or we might just eat it ourselves, don't know yet"
                                              He's looking at me like I'm from mars, his jaw is slack, and a silence settles...
                                              "A salami as a gift?"
                                              "Yeah, I think salamis make great gifts, plus you can't get spam single serves in Canada. And the cheese? Its not like that girly-girl pepper havarti, no way, its got chunks of real habanero and is killer hot. I THINK you could get those blue potato chips in Canada, but you really have to look around. The guy who runs our Wednesday night poker games really likes them so I got them for him. And the kielbasa...well you know about that"
                                              The wife leans over and says "He's really into food".

                                              He had me pop the trunk and rooted through the grocery bags then waved me through in apparent disgust.

                                              I can still see him: "A salami as a gift?"

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: porker

                                                Hahahaha -- I can just picture it. Thanks for the laugh!

                                                A salami is a fantastic gift! Mmm.

                                              2. Our female relatives who live in Montreal always stock up on our baking powder when they come south of the border. Ours is double strength and yours is only single?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                  Double-acting. For some reason all the baking powder in Canada seems to be single-acting (i.e., a simple blend of bicarb and cream of tartar).

                                                2. More like, what can you get in Canada that you can't get in the States? I bring back boil-in-the-bag couscous and a lot of English and Canadian jam, especially one with a brand I think is ED Smith, flavor "Midnight Berry". English chocolate. Candied fruit for baking, in big bulk bags, much less expensive there. A kind of cracker (name is something like Crackbread) that resembles the crust of French bread. And many cans of maple syrup. There used to be a bakery in the Montreal train station, don't know if it's still there, that sold a maple pecan bread that would stop traffic: it was loaded with pecans and big gobs of maple sugary stuff that turned gooey and warm when you toasted the bread. A serious message to any US people who live close enough to drive over the border: go to Canada to grocery-shop. If I lived close enough I'd do it every week.

                                                  22 Replies
                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                    I was wondering whether we should start a new thread on this. I have a friend in NYC who finds several things cheaper up here, and many French and British products much more widely available here.

                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                      British food in general is easier to find in Canada; big, really picky expat community insists on it :-)

                                                      A friend of ours from England lives in Maryland so when we visit them every year we always bring her bangers, Bisto, English bacon (from a Scottish butcher shop), black pudding, Marmite, Typhoo tea, Bird's custard, etc. I also noticed that Walker's shortbread is much cheaper in Canada.

                                                      It's the cartel/monopoly-controlled stuff like dairy, poultry, and alcohol (the 3 worst offenders) that are ridiculously expensive in Canada compared to USA.

                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                        You ever get them Salada Tea?
                                                        Only available in Canada, a pity...

                                                        1. re: porker

                                                          Huh? I saw that in a Chinese market in Irvine, California not two weeks ago.

                                                            1. re: porker

                                                              Did you mean you can't get Red Rose in the U.S.? I'm living in (sort of) 'the boonies' in North Carolina and every grocer within an hour's drive carries Red Rose (even the W-Mart that just opened). One caveat though - I find it doesn't taste the same as the Red Rose that relatives bring with them from Canada (of course, I also think the Typhoo and P&G I can pick up 'locally' tastes different than what I'm sent from the U.K.) - could it be a different supplier, or blend, in the U.S. for Red Rose?

                                                              1. re: blackoak

                                                                It must be. Definitely tastes quite different. Even the teabags are different (Canadian ones are much bigger, no strings or labels because they are meant to be brewed in a pot). When my dear mom was alive, she kept me supplied with the real thing down here in the States.

                                                                1. re: blackoak

                                                                  Well actually I meant that you could only get Red Rose tea in Canada, which is splitting hairs when saying that you can't get it in the US.
                                                                  I only say this because of Red Rose's ad campaigns which always ended in "Only in Canada, eh? Pity?"

                                                                  So after reading your post I did extensive research on the subject (hit up red rose tea on wikipedia).
                                                                  Apparently, even though their ads mention "Only in Canada, eh? Pity" (which has become part of popular culture in Canada), its been available in the US since the 20s "but it's a different blend of black pekoe and cut black teas compared to the orange pekoe sold in Canada".

                                                                  So I guess yes and no - Red Rose is available in the states, but its not the same as that in Canada...

                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                    Not nearly the same. I was excited to see it in my supermarket ages ago, tried it, bleh, asked my mom for some of the real stuff.

                                                                  2. re: blackoak

                                                                    My friend in Michigan cannot get Typhoo locally where she is so I buy it for her at No Frills and send it to her (I'll bring it across the border then mail it from a Buffalo post office; too expensive plus risk possible confiscation if you try to ship food into the U.S. from outside). The Typhoo I find at NF is clearly marked as having been made in England (has the UK address and everything, doesn't have any Canadian addresses on it at all, don't even think it even has French labelling). So if there's an American version of Typhoo, she's never seen it nor have I.

                                                                    Now, Tetley is a different story altogether. American Tetley tastes nothing like what you get in Canada.

                                                                    The weirdest case of "different tastes" has got to be cream soda. In Canada it looks and tastes like bubblegum. In the U.S. it tastes like vanilla. And when my wife had some while on a business trip to Hong Kong, it was different there too, and that's the version she likes best. Thankfully T&T carries Schweppes Cream Soda as sold in HK (actually made in Macau!).

                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                      A friend of mine was orgasmic after discovering the non-pink cream soda in Hawaii. I joke that we went for a second trip there so she could have more. I've looked all over the place her for some for her (thought it would make a cool b'day gift), never thought of T&T, I'll try that, thanks.

                                                                        1. re: Jasz

                                                                          When you're at T&T, look for the green Schweppes cans or bottles of cream soda, then check the address in the fine print. If I recall correctly, the plastic bottles will have a Hong Kong address, the cans will have Macau, but it's the same recipe.

                                                                        2. re: TexSquared

                                                                          Also, they make pink cream soda, and clear cream soda. Many years ago, the Blue Jay game was about to start on TV. I had a bottle of scotch, and I quickly dashed across the road to the convenience store, saw a bottle with the blue label and "soda" on it, grabbed it, paid, and dashed back.

                                                                          Got upstairs, opened both bottles, poured a huge mug of what I thought was scotch and soda, and almost gagged when it hit my mouth. Then looked at the bottle to see "Cream Soda" on the label.

                                                                          Worst. Drink. Ever.

                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                            My (slightly hungover) eyes are watering. Gaaah!

                                                              2. re: Querencia

                                                                That cracker sounds great, only in Quebec or in Ont too, do you know? I agree, there are many wonderful things to be had, including chocolate bars - how I love you Crunchie - and Macintosh Toffee,

                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                  Yeah, it's the usual fantasy that we're shafted in Canada choice and price wise. Quality beer is available on every street corner in Montreal cheaper than in the USA. On the other hand if you're looking for 5 choices of microwavable bacon, then head South for sure.

                                                                    1. re: everyonelovessushi

                                                                      Not a fantasy.

                                                                      Walk into a Loblaws in Toronto and then a Wegmans in Buffalo. Yes, we're shafted in choice and price.

                                                                      Walk into an LCBO in Toronto and then Supermarket Liquors and Wines (or any big liquor store) in Niagara Falls, NY. Yes, we're shafted in choice and price.

                                                                      You won't see too many Buffalo residents lining up to cross the border into Canada to shop for food.

                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                        The wine, beer and spirits pricing is due to taxation, not retail store policies.

                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                          Just checked the Wegmans Buffalo online flyer for the week and there is nothing special about it. Same crap at the same prices as north of the border.
                                                                          There are some Canadians who delude themselves that they give stuff away for free south of the 49th . Not true. Same pricing system.

                                                                    2. In BC, President's Choice stores have both orange tic tacs and Old Bay Seasoning (just saw them at SuperStore today).

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mickie44

                                                                        I can pick up buttermilk powder in my local Bulk Barn. I do love the clabber girl corn startch, but I think that is more for the tin, no more messy boxes!

                                                                        1. re: pookiefatcat

                                                                          Canada Corn Starch (blue and yellow packaging) now comes in a redesigned container, no more messy boxes!!

                                                                          1. re: middydd

                                                                            Since when, I bought a box about a month ago.


                                                                              1. re: middydd


                                                                                I usually just dump it into an old cottage cheese container or something like that.


                                                                      2. Milky Way Midnight bars and A&W Vanilla Cream Soda. Together, bliss.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                          That A&W vanilla cream soda is exactly the stuff my friend goes orgasmic over.

                                                                        2. See's Chocolate (Rocky Road), Baby Ruth and American Mars Bars (which are different from the Canadian ones). Actually any regional candy and chocolate bars would be good. Wine, Craft Beer, U-Bet chocolate syrup.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: fmed

                                                                            Cuz you can't make a good eggcream w/o U-Bet!

                                                                            1. re: fmed

                                                                              M&M Mars discontinued the American Mars bar (nougat w/whole almonds, covered in milk chocolate, I believe). Mars everywhere else in the world = Milky Way in the US.

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                Dammit. It will live on in my memories.

                                                                            2. Alexia Crispy Snacks! They featured them in a Top Chef quickfire and they are good! I picked some up in Buffalo and they are far superior to any other chip/snack food. I've been looking for them here in Toronto but so far no luck. Try them if you can - you'll be hooked!

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: chefhound

                                                                                A poster in another forum mentioned that she found Alexia Crispy snacks --the waffle fries at Summerhill Market.

                                                                                1. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                  Yep I got some there last week. They had the onion strips (really good!) and a few flavours of waffle fries. Not exactly generous portions for the price, but what're ya gonna do?

                                                                              2. Too late, I know, but one thing I heard about this summer, and can't get in Canada, is "Creamsicle Poptarts". Yeah, I know they're terrible for you, but that flavour sounds very intriguing.

                                                                                1. It is all about the Rotel.......there is no Rotel here in Canada - although I can now find it in Seattle. Rotel, the best can of genius - tomatoes and green chilis - perfect to add to stews, soups........and if blended with a little bit of cumin, an acceptable salsa. Canadians don't know much about queso with Rotel and Velveeta - but if you ever want to make it for Canadians, be sure to bring some cans of Rotel.

                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: quidnunc

                                                                                    I have just shy of 20 cans of it in my kitchen right now. Love the stuff.

                                                                                    A good Mexican rice is the one can of Mexican style Rotel and 2 cups of rice. I strain the tomaotes off, add enough chicken stock to get the required liquid and then cook the rice as per instructions. Add the tomatoes in when you add the rice.


                                                                                    1. re: quidnunc

                                                                                      its all in the brands,im sure we have an equivalent to rotel thats just as good ,on that note i wouldnt mind trying rotel just to see the hype

                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                          there is a thousand brands of that stuff ,im sure we can come up with something,mabye even better.

                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                              LOL. I loved this exchange. Passionate about food, anyone??

                                                                                        2. re: howlin

                                                                                          Maybe not the equivalent, but how hard could it be to sub canned tomatoes and canned chilies???

                                                                                          1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                            I don't know if there's a Canadian equivalent and I think you probably can fiddle with a mixture of canned tomatoes and canned chilis to get a substitute.
                                                                                            However the wife really likes the rotel (she'll mix it into a pot of steamed cabbage for a very simple side dish - yeah, I know, seemingly uncreative for an exotic, hard-to-get import-yourself item...).

                                                                                            Anyways, my problem with rotel is the price: About $3USD for a small 14 oz can(about 400g, same size as a Campbells soup).
                                                                                            This at the Pricechopper in Champlain NY. I guess you can get it cheaper on sale or at other costco-type stores, but I'm not going to shop around or specifically venture further out for this one item. So I'm stuck paying about $3.30CDN or more for a can....

                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                              I pick 'em up down yonder for less than a buck a can at Wal-Mart.


                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                Which is fine for you since you live in Toronto. We're at least 4 hours from anything close. The US is but an abstract concept if you live in Calgary or Edmonton.

                                                                                                1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                  It has nothing to do with living in TO and everything to do with having inlaws that live in Alabama.

                                                                                                  It is pretty simple for us to make a cross boarder run to Buffalo. I've never looked for Rotel though.


                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                    Does this mean Rotel is available in Alabama Walmarts for a buck?

                                                                                              2. re: porker

                                                                                                Northern NY grocery stores can be very pricy (I lived in Potsdam, NY for a couple of years, scarcely gets more northen NY than that).

                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                  Ever eat Pizza at Angelos in Massena or Atomic Wings in Akwasasne?

                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                    The pizza, yes - I worked at Alcoa in Massena. The wings I remmeber were from Eben's Hearth in Potsdam.. They had good diner food - are they still there?

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      I can't really say as I'm not there very much. I have many aquaintenances that do travel there and talk about Angelos and Atomic. But they generally go only as far as Massena. Potsdam seems like a lonely outpost - haha.

                                                                                                      As a matter of fact, I'm having a friend bring back 100 wings from Atomic as part of our Superbowl lineup.

                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                        It wasn't my favorite of the places we've lived (husband taught at Clarkson).

                                                                                              3. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                I can only find canned green chiles at Whole Foods, which is not convenient to me. Am I missing something on the regular Toronto grocery store shelves?

                                                                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                  In the Mexican section you can get canned green chilies (puree) made by Old El Paso and Herdez.


                                                                                              4. re: howlin

                                                                                                I have never tried Rotel, but i seriously think there's crack in it. People who use it will never even consider trying another brand. It has amazing brand loyalty. I mean on chowhound and people are extolling the virtues of a dip made from velveeta cheese and a can of stewed tomatos. Come on.

                                                                                                Frankly i am afraid that if i try it i might never want another brand of canned tomatos. Happily, the point is moot as I live in Canada.

                                                                                                1. re: hala

                                                                                                  They don't replace just any tomatoes. They're somewhere between salsa and stewed tomatoes. There really is nothing else like them. Certainly not up here.

                                                                                                  As for the queso dip (always refered to as "Rotel" in the south) it's fantastic. Velveeta is a good cheese for certain things. All of them revolve around it being melted.

                                                                                                  I suggest you get a can and see for yourself.


                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                    I agree with the posters in this long thread that nothing is a good substitute for Rotel. In the US there are even other brands of stewed tomatoes with green chiles (Del Monte, for example) and none of them are as good. I've gotten many people here in Toronto hooked on Rotel which I bring back from the US with regularity. There also seems to be a large concensus amongst people that I know that it's a crying shame that K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce is not sold in Canada. The biggest jones request I get from people, though, is for Bush's Best baked beans. I practically have to bring back a case every time I go down to satisfy all the requests.

                                                                                              1. I just read about this in a magazine: Coconut milk ice cream! Apparently there's a company called Turtle Mountain and they make coconut milk-based products.

                                                                                                Coconut milk ice cream? Yum! I'm salivating right now!

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                  Go to a Filipino grocery - there are a lot in the GTA. Ask for "Magnolia" ice cream - either "buko" (young coconut) or "macapuno" (coconut). You might also be intrigued by "mais-queso" (corn with cheese?!), or ube (purple yam), or "halo-halo" (mixed fruit and beans).

                                                                                                  1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                    Thanks for the recommendation. Corn with cheese sounds cool. But what I was referring to was an ice cream product that uses coconut milk as its base but has "regular" flavours such as cookie dough and mocha almond fudge.

                                                                                                    In the meantime, I'll gladly track down the Filipino version while waiting for the other kind to come to Canada. I'm going to be sure to look out for it next time I'm in the US.

                                                                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                      T&T also carries ube, macapuno, buko, and corn & cheese ice cream. Be prepared for sticker shock.

                                                                                                      1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                        Corn and cheese ice cream, I think "Bizarre Foods" had that and Andrew Zimmern hated it (go figure he liked Balut), they put the ice cream in a hot dog bun, ewwwww...

                                                                                                2. Here's my list: US-version of Corn Pops (totally different than Canadian version), Jiffy corn muffin mix, malt powder, KC Masterpice BBQ sauce, Rotel, Red Zinger tea, Bush's Best baked beans, IBC black cherry soda, cherry Pepsi and strawberry-flavored soft drinks. Beyond that, it's just absolutely shocking to me how cheap, in general, food is in the US compared to the prices of food in Canada (again I'm generalizing, obviously some stuff is less expensive in Canada). Not only is the selection in the US far larger but I seem to come back with a lot more things when I shop in the US versus when I spend the same amount in Canada.

                                                                                                  1. I have to get a friend to drive me to Plattsburgh every 2 months to stock up on Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi.

                                                                                                    Who's going next week?

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: marblebag

                                                                                                      When we go to the States, we stock up on the black cherry Coke Zero!!! Can only get black cherry (regular) Coke in Canada.

                                                                                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                        Us too... Cherry Coke Zero, Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew Code Red. Do we even have regular cherry Coke in Canada anymore, I thought all the cherry sodas were taken off the market here a couple years ago....

                                                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                          Oh, maybe not... We don't drink those ones, so don't really know about that.

                                                                                                    2. Can't get Cheetos Flaming hot in Quebec, don't know about the rest of Canada. Love them.