• Butter Tart

    Butter Tart

  • Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

    Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

  • Nanaimo Bar

    Nanaimo Bar

Visiting a new country means taking in the culture, admiring the views and discovering a brand-new cuisine. If you’re planning a road trip to Canada, then our food guide will get you ready for the best Canadian dishes.


This is probably the most famous of the traditional Canadian food. And like the rest of the dishes on this list, it’s not one that is particularly kind to your waistline! Poutine is French fries, covered in a hot peppery gravy and sprinkled with cheese curds. The perfect late night treat after an evening out, or a mid-afternoon snack. Poutine dates back to the 1950s, in Quebec. No one is really sure who invented it, and it is still a raging debate in the city.

The best poutine has to be hot, peppery and with crispy fries. For a delectable, authentic taste of the real Canada head to Snack Bar Saint-Jean, on Rue St. John in Quebec.

Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

New York may be more famous for its pastrami sandwich, but that doesn’t mean that Montreal’s smoked meat sandwich is any less delicious. Like poutine, no one really knows the origin of the Montreal sandwich, but it’s likely it was created by Jewish immigrants in either the late 19th or early 20th century.

The meat is so tender it has to be sliced by hand, any machine would just destroy it. The meat will be around 3mm thick, but stacked high in the bread. Montreal natives consider this to be the backbone of the Montreal food empire, and there is debate over which is the best place to go for the sandwich. Try Smoked Meat Pete, on 1st Avenue, L’Île-Perrot.

Nanaimo Bar

Our first sweet treat of the list, and it’s the delicious Nanaimo bar. This is a little younger than the Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and was likely invented in 1952 in a recipe from The Ladies Auxiliary to the Nanaimo General Hospital, although it was called a chocolate square. The Nanaimo bar is a chocolate dessert, made with a cookie base topped with vanilla custard covered in a chocolate ganache. The bar is so important to the city of Nanaimo that in 1985 the mayor held a competition to find the best recipe, which was won by Joyce Hardcastle. You can try her recipe here.

Thunder Bay Persian Rolls

Persian rolls are local to the Thunder Bay area in Ontario, and you’ll be hard pressed to find these anywhere else in Canada. They are cinnamon rolls, covered in a bright pink glaze, either strawberry or raspberry (there’s furious debate over which one is traditional). The rolls first came from Bennett’s Bakery, and aren’t Persian at all. The name likely came from US general John ‘Blackjack’ Pershing. For the best Persian Roll, make a stop at The Persian Man on Tungsten Street.

Flapper Pie

Now for an old Prairie recipe. Flapper pie is an old fashioned dessert of a graham cracker base, a pale sweet milky filling topped with a cloud-like meringue. These recipes usually would have been passed down the family, and no one is very sure where this one came from. Stop off for a picnic on your road trip, and save it for dessert.

Peameal Bacon

Throughout the rest of the world, this is known as Canadian bacon, but in Canada it’s called peameal bacon. It’s a thicker cut, and comes from the pig’s loins rather than belly, like other bacon. It’s brined and rolled in cornmeal, to give it that distinctive taste.

You can get peameal bacon pretty much wherever you go in Canada but many argue that the best place is Carousel Bakery in St. Lawrence Market, Toronto. Stop by at the stall for the ‘World Famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich’. As you would expect from the world-famous accolade, it’s pretty popular, so get ready to queue.


The BeaverTails Pastry bakery opened in 1978, and quickly became famous for their eponymous snack, the beaver tail. They shape and fry their dough into the shape of a beaver’s tail, and then cover it in Nutella, candy and other sugary treats. It’s pretty full on, so maybe you’d like to share it with your travelling buddy.

There are lots of BeaverTails all over Canada, so you will definitely find one on your travels.

Butter Tart

For a sugary snack that isn’t as intense as a beaver tail, a butter tart is ideal. About the size of a custard tart, it has a sweet, buttery filling inside a very flaky pastry. Some recipes include raisons, pecans or walnuts but this is pretty controversial, especially for traditionalists.

Butter tarts come from the city of Barrie in Ontario, and historians believe they were created in 1900. The Sweet Oven in Barrie is known as one of the best places to get a butter tart, and if you aren’t married to the idea of a traditional tart, they do really interesting flavours.


This is the oldest dish on our list, dating all the way back to the 1600s. A Tourtière is a pie made of flaky pastry and ground meat, usually pork or beef, seasoned with lots of different spices. It’s most often eaten around Christmas or New Year, but plenty of Canadian supermarkets stock it all year round.

The best place to go for a traditional Tourtière is Aux Anciens Canadiens in Qubec, which has been there since the 1600s.

Ketchup Chips

Canadians really love their ketchup, so it makes sense that they created a snack dedicated to their favourite condiment. Ketchup chips are just ketchup flavoured crisps, and are a kitchen cupboard essential in many Canadian homes. Almost every supermarket and corner shop in Canada will likely stock ketchup chips, so you won’t struggle to find a bag.

Is your stomach rumbling, desperate to get to Canada to try some (or all) of these treats? Start planning your Canadian road trip now- your taste buds will thank you!