Canada is a pretty awesome place to live. There is so much natural beauty here, not to mention the rich history and excellent healthcare system. What really makes Canada great though is the varied and unique foods that are only available here. People in the United States have heard tales of our bagged milk and maybe even our "bacon," (People in Canada do eat normal bacon, by the way), but they may not be aware of some of the best foods that we have available only to us. For example, they might know about poutine and ketchup chips, but what about donair and jalapeno cheddar Doritos? There are plenty of snacks and great foods that are exclusive to Canada, and we have to say that we are proud of pretty much all of them.
If you live in the United States, it's good to know what you might be missing out on south of the border. That way if you ever come up here for a vacation, you can pick up some of these great foods and try them for yourselves. Who knows? You might end up finding your new favorite, necessitating a trip back here whenever you can swing it. Plenty of these foods will travel well back to the States with you, and even if they don't, there are plenty of recipes online for recreating these foods yourself. Thins like butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, and even peameal bacon could all be made in your own home. That way, you always have a little taste of Canada whenever you need it. These are 25 foods from Canada every US foodie must try at least once!
One thing you're going to notice on this list is that it includes a lot of chocolate bars. That's because there are plenty of great chocolate bars that can only be found in Canada, one of them being the mild-mannered Aero bar. This stately bar of chocolate doesn't have much going on on the outside, but on the inside, you'll find thousands of tiny little bubbles. Now, most people from Canada acknowledge the fact that this is obviously a way to produce a bar using less chocolate, but we ignore it because Aero bars are just so good! They're light, sweet, and the sensation of bubbly chocolate melting in your mouth can't be replicated.
24 Chalet Sauce
Folks from the US who haven't been to a Swiss Chalet are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures: Chalet Sauce. This thick, slightly spicy, and purely delicious sauce is amazing on Swiss Chalet's rotisserie chicken (it's also essential since the meat can get pretty dry), but it can be so much more. You're not really reaching the full level of this sauce's potential until you pour it over your fries or soak the included roll in it. Ordering extra sauce with a takeout order is a must, and you can also buy it in packaged powder form at grocery stores.
23 Dill Pickle Chips
Dill pickle chips are highly divisive, even in Canada. Some people love them, and some people want nothing to do with them. The truth is that these chips are totally delicious, coming close to salt and vinegar without ever having the same amount of acidity. they also have the distinct flavors of dill and garlic in there, as well. Almost every chip company from Canada has a version of Dill Pickle flavor, but Dill Pickle Lays remain the gold standard for this incredible flavor.
22 Coffee Crisp
We told you there were a lot of chocolate bars on this list! You might get tired of them, but there's no way that you can make a list of foods from Canada and not include Coffee Crisp. What is a Coffee Crisp exactly? It's kind of like a bulked up Kit Kat finger, only inside, between two crispy vanilla wafers, there is a layer of soft, coffee flavored candy. These bars are amazing because they are a really light alternative to other, heavier (and chewier) candy bars on the market. The coffee flavor is also not overwhelming and perfectly compliments the chocolate.
21 White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
The prevailing wisdom about Canada is that when it comes to store-bought mac and cheese, it has to be Kraft Dinner. Well, we'd like to clear up that misconception by stating that this white cheddar mac and cheese is the superior macaroni and cheese in a box. Not only do you get actual macaroni noodles (as opposed to those thin, straight excuses for noodles in Kraft Dinner), but the sauce is creamier and has a far more natural cheddar flavor. It also isn't a weird neon orange, since it is made without artificial colors.
People in the United States might be thinking "Smarties? You mean those chalky little fruit-flavored circles people hand out on Halloween?" Don't worry, we are aware of the existence of those disappointing candies. In Canada, they are called Rockets, because Smarties was taken by this awesome sweet treat already. Smarties are like M&M's; however, they are wider, flatter, and slightly crunchier due to a thicker candy shell. You might hear people claiming the shells have a slightly fruity flavor, but that is just not true. Just know that if you get some, you have to eat the red ones last (it's a thing, trust us).
19 Peameal Bacon
People in the United States have a conception of what bacon in Canada looks like (basically ham). However, they are missing out on one of the best meats Canada has to offer, which is peameal bacon. Similar to back bacon, peameal bacon is a lean, cured pork loin that is then rolled in peameal. The coating gives the bacon a signature crunch around the edges when it is fried. It's delicious on its own, but it is particularly good on top of a burger, providing a more meaty bite than regular strip bacon.
18 Caramilk Bars
The Caramilk bar is another very straightforward chocolate bar, but what it lacks in fillings it makes up for in delicious flavor. Imagine a bar made out of Rolos, but instead of being chewy, the caramel inside is practically liquid. The chocolate, which is made by Cadbury, is also significantly sweeter and softer, making this one of the most decadent chocolate bars that can be found in Canada. Their advertising gimmick is trying to pretend that how they get caramel into the bar is a mystery.
17 Jalapeno Cheddar Doritos
Sure, the United States has plenty of their own Doritos flavor, but the one that they are missing is probably one of the best out there: jalapeno and cheddar. These Doritos that are only available in Canada are pretty much the perfect tortilla chip. The coating perfectly combines the mild sharpness of cheddar with the spice and flavor of jalapeno, creating something that is more flavorful than the traditional nacho cheese Doritos, but not quite as intense as the spicy ones.
16 Nanaimo Bars
When talking about baked goods from Canada, the conversation is not complete without mentioning the Nanaimo Bar. These bars (which, believe it or not, are available outside of Nanaimo BC!) are made with a dense, chocolate base (usually mixed with coconut), a custard-flavored buttercream icing middle, and a thick, hard chocolate top. Somehow all of these layers come together to be more than the sum of their parts. These bars are incredibly sweet and an absolute necessity at any get-together that includes desserts. You can just put them out next to the butter tarts.
15 Harvey's Burgers
Harvey's is Canada's lesser-known fast food joint (at least it is in the United States). Harvey's combines all of the best aspects of other fast food places to deliver a completely delicious meal each time. The burgers are flame-grilled, similarly to Burger King, but the patties are thicker and meatier. Plus, they will dress it up right in front of you, so you can see how many pickles or hot peppers they are adding to your burger. The fries and onion rings are also completely delicious.
14 Crispy Crunch Bars
Crispy Crunch bars are just delightful. Imagine a Butterfinger but thinner, firmer, and slightly less salty. Then you have an idea of what a Crispy Crunch bar is like. These chocolate bars are simply delicious, and a huge hit on Halloween in their bite-size form. The chocolate coating is also just the right thickness, and since it is Cadbury, it is creamy, smooth, and sweet. Also, unlike a Butterfinger, these bars come with a cardboard support system in their wrapper so they don't break immediately after you buy one.
13 Ketchup Chips
I remember when I found out that ketchup potato chips were only available in Canada. I thought it was strange, because don't people in the United States like ketchup? Either way, everyone knows about these bright red chips with a tangy, tomato flavor. By the way, ketchup chips don't really taste anything close to actual ketchup, but somehow they transcend the flavor to deliver something that is totally unique. They will also leave a thick coating of dark flavor dust on your fingers if you eat too many.
Maltesers are Canada's version of Whoppers. These crunchy little chocolate candy balls have a more distinct malty flavor, though. The chocolate coating is also somewhat richer. They also have the tendency to melt almost immediately after you bite into them, blending the milk chocolate coating and the malted interior together to create a really nice flavor profile. These are the ideal snack to have with popcorn when you head to Silver City for a movie. There are also plenty of recipe ideas out there to utilize Maltesers for desserts and other creations.
11 Montreal Smoked Meat
There's pastrami, there's corned beef, and then there's Montreal smoked meat. This delicious deli meat is best served on rye bread with a little bit of yellow mustard (it has to be yellow mustard). Montreal smoked meat is fairly similar to pastrami, utilizing black peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander, and garlic in the curing process. However, Montreal smoked meat is not cured in nearly as much sugar, giving it a more distinctive, salty, and spicy bite than its cousins from the United States. You can get it at most grocery stores, but the best Montreal smoked meat is served at delis in (where else?) Montreal.
The Wunderbar is, as people from Germany might say, wunderbar! This chocolate bar from Canada combines a creamy chocolate coating and caramel interior with peanut butter, crispy rice, and peanuts. Wunderbars are chewy, soft, sweet, and salty, basically combining every single flavor you would want in a chocolate bar. They are practically perfect in every way. They are even better if you stick them in the freezer for an hour or so, hardening the caramel into a crunchy shell, but leaving the peanut butter soft and melty.
9 Jos Louis
Vachon is the signature snack cake company in Canada, and their most famous product is the Jos Louis (pronounced Joe Louie). These round, cream-filled chocolate snack cakes are similar to a May West, but use chocolate cake instead of vanilla. The cream filling is also a little bit more dense and flavorful. These are the kind of thing that every kid wants in their lunchbox when they go to school. There are several variations on the Jos Louis, including the half Jos Louis, the Jos Louis bar, and the chocolate creme Jos Louis.
If you ever find yourself on the east coast of Canada, particularly the city of Halifax, then you will probably pass by at least one donair shop. A donair (which is Canada's version of the classic doner kebab) is a pita made with spiced beef, tomatoes, and onions. However, the real secret to a donair is the sauce, a sweet yet garlicky white sauce that people purchase by the bucket. It is such a popular flavor that you can even get a donair pizza at some places, topped with the signature sauce.
7 Hickory Sticks
If you're having a discussion about snack foods from Canada, then it is impossible not to mention Hickory Sticks. These smoky, crunchy potato sticks are the perfect snack on their own, but they are also great thrown into a party mix or used as a topping for burgers or casseroles. Hickory Sticks are another classic Halloween treat, as snack sized bags often make their way into the hands of trick-or-treaters. They are the kind of snack that requires a massive handful of them for every bite since they are so thin, but that's just part of their appeal.
Shreddies might just be the perfect breakfast cereal, and they are only available in the UK and Canada. Shreddies are little squares of woven wheat, which might not sound exciting, but does a breakfast cereal always have to be exciting? Their structure ensures that they hold on to a lot of milk which is really great. They aren't too sweet, but they have just enough flavor to make for a nice start to the day. You can also get them in honey flavor, which are just as good as the regular ones!
5 Ah! Caramel
Speaking of snack cakes from Canada, we have to tell you about Ah Caramel! These square cakes with a silly name are incredible, and it's all because of the circular top, which houses sweet, delicious caramel surrounded by vanilla frosting. This frosting, though, is denser than the average cream filling of a Hostess Twinkie or Cupcake. These were a coveted school lunch item that could fetch more than a fair trade for even just one of the delicious cakes (which come in packages of two).
4 All Dressed Chips
The United States might have their own wide variety of potato chip flavors, but we know that they don't have these, all-dressed Ruffles. These chips are amazing, and perfect with a nice creamy onion dip. The flavor is vinegary, slightly spicy, and not too salty. These are the king of chips sold in Canada. They are an instant crowd-pleaser and a must-have at any party that features bowls of snacks. The name comes from the fact that the flavor is essentially a combination of barbecue, salt and vinegar, and ketchup (another exclusive chip flavor)!
3 Butter Tarts
If you've never had the fortune of trying one of Canada's famous butter tarts, then know this: they are incredibly addictive. A butter tart is essentially a mini-pecan pie without the pecans (although you can get them with pecans or raisins). The filling of a butter tart is gooey, rich, sweet, and also slightly runnier than the standard shoofly pie or pecan pie filling. The perfect butter tart has a thick enough crust to stand up to the rich center. You can get butter tarts at almost any bakery in Canada, and they will pretty much always be delicious.
It's probably the most well-known snack from Canada, and for good reason. Poutine combines all of the things you want in late night food in one amazingly rich, salty, delicious dish. Real poutine is made with french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. If it doesn't have cheese curds, then it's not real poutine. The gravy should also, preferably, be dark, brown, and thick (meaning that it should probably be beef gravy, although some places do pretty good poutine with chicken gravy). Poutine can also be topped with all manner of other items, such as pulled pork, bacon, and even butter chicken.
1 Crunchie Bars
There is something so satisfying about snapping off a chunk of a Cadbury Crunchie bar. This candy bar is so beautiful and delicious in its pure simplicity: sponge toffee coated in chocolate. That's it. No extra caramel, nuts, or nougat required. The layer of chocolate is not so thick that it overpowers the delightfully rich flavor of the interior, and the sponge toffee is brittle enough that it is never hard to bite into or chew. The crunchy toffee melts in your mouth so quickly that you really only get about three chews before the sweetness overtakes you. These are a definite must-try for any visitors!