As some of our readers know, I am a Contributor to Travel-Wise.com. A lot of my travels end up on this wonderful resource which I highly recommend your visiting: www.Travel-Wise.com. It’s headquartered in Canada although its audience is bigger in the U.S. and the U.K. As part of my working for Travel-Wise, I am delighted to put their Culinary content on Chewing The Fat.
Kelly Dunning, who wrote this piece, is a freelance writer and travel blogger from Alberta, Canada. She met her partner Lee, a web designer from Northern England, while working as a tour guide at a creepy haunted prison by the sea in New Zealand. They are digital nomads and have been working remotely while backpacking around the world with no fixed address since May of 2011.
Together they created Global Goose, a resource of information and inspiration for other travelers. You’ll usually find Kelly hunched over her laptop in cafes, hammocks and hostel rooms all over South America, Southeast Asia, Europe and beyond – typing furiously about travel destinations, food, activities and all of the awesome experiences this world has to offer.
Kelly loves hiking, reading, art, history, nihilist memes and boozy hot chocolate. If you ask her what her favorite country is, be prepared for a very long-winded and rambling answer that may involve mentions of Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and the UK.
Here’s what Kelly wrote for Chewing The Fat…
As you make your way across the vast landscapes of Canada, the mountains, rivers, lakes, and prairies will be a treat for your eyes. However, you’ll also find plenty of treats for your taste buds on your cross-Canada trip.
Canada has a rich culinary history, combining influences from France, the United Kingdom, and the First Nations tribes. You’ll find dishes inspired by the winter provisions of early fur traders, dishes based on plentiful fresh fish, berries and game, and foods brought by immigrants from Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean.
With so many incredible dishes, there’s no shame in planning your road trip across Canada based on what foods you want to eat! Here are just a few of the best things to eat as you travel across the country.
Starting on the West Coast, the Nanaimo bar originates in the city of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It’s a triple-layered dessert bar, with a coconut wafer crumb base, custard-flavored butter icing in the middle and a layer of chocolate ganache on top.
Of course, you don’t have to be in Nanaimo to eat a Nanaimo bar — they are a popular confection made in bakeries all over the country. (When you taste this moreish bar, you’ll know why.)
British Columbia Salmon
Wild salmon from British Columbia is one of the best fish products in the world. It’s also really good for you — the pink flesh is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that decrease your blood pressure, reduce your risk of stroke and protect your joints.
One of the most famous places to eat Salmon in BC is the Salmon House restaurant in West Vancouver (which also serves up fantastic views). If you want to cook your own, check out this gorgeous recipe for cedar grilled wild BC salmon with kiwi salsa.
The beef produced in Alberta is recognized around the world for its rich taste and superb quality. The quality of the meat is a result of exacting production standards, better quality feed and devotion to animal welfare.
You’ll find Alberta beef served in the finest steakhouses across the country. But if you really want to eat it right from the source, here are some of the best steak restaurants in Calgary.
Considered by many to be Canada’s national dish, poutine consists of french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. It originated in the “greasy spoon” diners of Quebec.
The thick-cut fries are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The fresh cheese curds must be slightly acidic and elastic so that they squeak when you bite into them. The gravy is traditionally a light and thin chicken gravy, with a hint of pepper.
Poutine is, of course, the perfect food to feast on at 3 a.m. after you’ve been enjoying the nightlife of one of Canada’s great cities.
Montreal Smoked Meat
Montreal is a true foodie hotspot in Canada, boasting superb bagels, excellent poutine and much more. However, one of the shining stars of the Montreal culinary scene is smoked meat. This deli-style meat is made by salting and curing a beef brisket with spices for over a week. (Or even up to 10 days, like they do at the famous Schwartz’s Deli.)
It’s similar to New York pastrami in preparation, but the flavor is much different. Try it between two slices of light rye with yellow prepared mustard.
On any given Sunday afternoon in Newfoundland and the other Atlantic provinces, local families are digging into a large plate of salt beef, boiled potatoes, carrot, cabbage, turnip, and cabbage or turnip greens. This is a traditional Jiggs Dinner and it is often served with pickled beets, mustard pickles, butter, cranberry sauce and meat gravy.
It’s a meal that takes a lot of preparation, but there’s nothing like this comforting dish to warm you up from those chilly Atlantic winds.
Last but not least, you haven’t really experienced Canada until you’ve had some moose meat. Whether cooked into burgers, fried up in a pan or made into sausages, it’s a rich, gamey meat that is high in protein and pretty darn delicious. (Plus, it’s a lot healthier than beef!)
A great way to prepare a moose roast is in the slow cooker. Here’s a recipe:
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the moose roast on all sides. Place in the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the moose with one envelope of dry onion soup mix and pour in 2 cups of apple juice.
- Cover and cook on medium for six to eight hours, until the meat is tender. Keep checking occasionally to ensure there is enough liquid. Add more juice if required.
- Serve the roast and use the juices to make a tasty gravy.
What’s Your Favorite Canadian Dish?
There are so many others I didn’t have room to mention here, including Nova Scotia lobster, beavertails, Saskatoon berries and more. Canada really is a foodie paradise — so bring your appetite!
Thanks so much Kelly! Here are a few of my favorite Canadian dishes from the pages of Chewing The Fat…
Montreal Meatloaf Stroganoff adapted from Sam Sifton in The New York Times