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What is Canadian Cuisine?

My Sister-in-Law is Taiwanese and moved to Canada (AB) when she married my Brother two years ago. In that time she went from not knowing how to boil water to being a pretty decent cook.

Her family is now coming to visit Canada and she (with my help) would like to make them a dinner consisting of a "Canadian" menu.

She does not want any Asian dishes as in "these are the Asian dishes Canadians eat" as her family already cooks and eats Asian. She wants true Canadian food.

Having been born in Canada this leaves me puzzling the question "what is Canadian food"? We would love some input of fellow foodies. My sister-in-law's kitchen skills are not up to suggestions such as "pemmican" but certainly she could handle creatively prepared salmon etc...

We have until the fall to get a menu together so feel free to discuss...I wasn't sure quite what to tell her when she asked me "What Are the Quintessential Canadian Foods?"

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  1. This is a fun topic - may I suggest you repost it on Home Cooking so people in other parts of Canada and expats like me could weigh in?

    1. Poutine!

      Montreal bagels, Pate Chinois, seal meat and deep fried pork jowls (forget the Canadian name) all come to mind as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        never been to canada have you,there is a western part as well that have never seen seal meat,jowls? poutines not bad .alberta beef is king(ya im biased)not many canadians eat seal(maritimes thing)

        1. re: ipsedixit

          forgot the lol.my post was supposed to be lite hearted .cheers

        2. I would think it would be heavy on fish, game and beef. Because it is cold and in North America, I would think dairy would be a big influence. As far as fish, lots of Salmon and Halibut. I'm sure there are more especially from the Nova Scotia area.

          They have a large french population so french cuisine would have a big influence. There would be a lot of great pastries. Whatever cuisine the native americans (a large population) contribute. I understand bison is popular.

          It tends to be cold in Canada. It has been my experience that cold climates like high calorie dishes because the cold makes them burn those calories quickly. Like wise because of the cold, they are gonna like braising so pot roasts and short ribs will be popular.

          Canada probably isn't big on heavily spiced foods like the in Louisiana or Mexican spices.

          Ok, Ok so it is total speculation.... but I bet I'm right. :-)

          1. Alberta has a lot of folks of Ukrainian descent. Pyrogis are a pretty common food served there (also called wereneke, by Albertan Mennonites http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2009... ). Taber corn is lovely in Alberta in August. While people think of poutine as Canadian, it is primarily Quebecois (indeed, I don't think you can get cheese curds easily in Alberta, or you couldn't the last time I lived there). Alberta beef is probably the best beef I've ever had (much more flavourful than the corn-finished stuff you get in the U.S.). Might serve steaks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Indirect Heat

              You can get cheese curds in Alberta these days - Our Sobey's carries Bothwell brand and the Walmart Supercentre carries St. Albert curds.

              1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                Excuse me?? That'd be a Timbit! Doughnuts are average.