We’re a big country with a lot of little culinary particularities. So, while you’ve had your poutine, Kraft dinner, and butter tarts, we bet a few of these regional specialties will surprise you.
Invented during the Dirty Thirties, pouding chômeur starts with a very basic cake batter. Then, you pour a maple syrup cream sauce over the top. When the cake bakes, the sauce and cake switch places. You end up with a cake caramelized on top, soaked in maple syrup cream sauce on the bottom. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to make at home.
A ploye is Acadian in origin. Popular in New Brunswick, these simple griddle cakes are made with buckwheat flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and water. Thinner than a pancake and thicker than a crepe, ployes can be eaten with beans, maple syrup, cretons, or a traditional Acadian chicken stew called fricot.
A Quebec pâté made with pork, onions, and spices. It can be served on a ploye.
Eaten in Nova Scotia and PEI, rappie pie is a dish of grated and strained potatoes cooked in broth and layered with onions and meats such as beef, chicken, or bar clams. After the pie is baked for hours, the top should be crispy and the interior tender and gooey. You could probably make this at home, but for the authentic experience, you really want to seek out a grandma in Nova Scotia.
A specialty of Newfoundland and Labrador, flipper pie sees a harp seal flipper cooked with vegetables and sauce and then put into pastry. It can be served as a pot pie or a hand pie. Fans describe harp seal as tasting like chicken—the dark meat. If you want to try it yourself, you’ll have to make your way to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Smoked salmon, both hot- and cold-smoked, is pretty common in Canadian grocery stores, but you might have a harder time finding salmon candy if you’re not on the coast. Imagine strips of salmon brushed with maple syrup or brown sugar before being smoked. Sweet, savoury, smoked—we thank Indigenous communities on the west coast for this amazing treat.
Oreilles de Crisse
Speaking of sweet and salty, oreilles de crisse are basically pork scratchings served in Quebec sugar shacks to give a salty counterpoint to all the sweet maple-based desserts happening.
How tasty are saskatoon berries? So delicious that they named a whole city after them. If you’ve never been to the Prairies, saskatoons are little violet berries that look a bit like blueberries. You can have them by themselves, in jams, trail mix, dried, and in smoothies, but the best way to enjoy saskatoons is in pie form.
And really, what berry isn’t made better by putting it into pie form?