One of the greatest benefits of studying abroad is the opportunity to learn about different cultures, which includes trying the local cuisine!
There are numerous delicious dishes to be discovered in Canada. Walking down a busy street in Toronto, you’ll see a long line of restaurants serving shawarma, sushi, pizza, souvlaki, dumplings, and so much more.
Because Canada is so diverse, defining Canadian food can be difficult. However, there are some dishes that are uniquely Canadian, many of which were invented in the country. So, in this international student guide, we’ll look at 5 Canadian dishes you won’t want to miss.
1. California roll
Sushi isn’t native to Canada. But what about the California roll? Chef Hidekazu Tojo claims to have invented the roll in the 1970s in Vancouver. Tojo decided to make the roll inside-out to hide the ingredients after noticing that Canadian customers didn’t like raw fish and seaweed. It was a huge success, and California rolls are now available in sushi restaurants across North America.
Interested in trying them out? If you’re studying in Vancouver – like at the University of British Columbia or Vancouver Film School – you might want to check out Tojo’s, a Japanese restaurant owned by (you guessed it) Tojo himself.
2. Saskatoon berry pie
Saskatoon berries grow throughout the Canadian prairies, British Columbia and Yukon. In fact, Saskatoon is named after the word for berries in Cree, an indigenous language. Saskatoon berry pie, made with Saskatoon berries (of course), lemon, and a little sugar, is a popular dessert in the prairie region. So, if you want to study in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba, you’re in luck!
3. Nanaimo bars
Nanaimo bars are named after the British Columbia city of Nanaimo. They’re made with graham crackers and shredded coconut, creamy butter icing, and a sweet chocolate topping – and they’re the ideal small treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you’re a student at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, you’ll likely have lots of opportunities to enjoy this rich dessert. The city even put together a map of all the places you can try them, called The Nanaimo Bar Trail. Following the trail is a delicious way to explore your new city!
You can also find Nanaimo bars in bakeries, cafes, and grocery stores throughout Canada since they’re so popular around the country.
4. Montreal smoked meat
If you enjoy meat, this dish is for you. Montreal smoked meat is a mouthwatering combination of thinly sliced and marinated beef stacked on rye bread with plenty of mustard. While historians are unsure who invented the Montreal smoked meat sandwich, it has roots in Romanian and Jewish cuisine.
If you plan to study in Montreal – at Concordia, McGill, LaSalle, Dawson or the Montreal College of Information technology – you’ll be able to find Montreal smoked meat in delis across the city. But one of the most popular places to eat it is Schwartz, Canada’s oldest deli that’s been serving the sandwich since 1928.
Poutine is a Québécois food – meaning it comes from the province of Quebec. It consists of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It was first served in rural Quebec in the 1950s, and slowly grew into a favorite nationwide. Today, you can find poutine in restaurants just about anywhere in Canada – and if you’re a student, you might enjoy it as a late-night and tasty takeout meal. Yum!