Travelling to Canada? Here's what you need to know about Canadian food... there is no Canadian food.
Let me explain.
One of the common questions that gets tossed around by weary wanders on the travel trail is what kind of food you miss from home. This usually leads to questions about what your country's food is. In Italy you have pasta, pastries and espresso; the UK draws images of fish and chips, pints and Shepard's Pie; while in Korea there is kimchi, rice and more kimchi. But when someone asks me what Canadian food is, I am always at a loss.
Yes, we have the fast food chains from the US — burgers, pizza etc. — and our Canadian chain Tim Hortons is full of donuts, sandwiches, wraps, coffee, cookies and muffins. But, we also have sushi, steak, sir-frys, tacos, perogies, fish and chips, pasta, kimchi, fried chicken — I think you get the point. Even better, we have fusion restaurants that create dishes made with influences from a bunch of different cultures, and fine-dining restaurants that contain menus with tacos, sushi, curry, pizza, pasta, steak, and burgers — oh the choices!!
The wonderful thing about living in a country that is made up of different people and different cultures from all over the world is that we get to taste the culinary flavours of all of these places, and fuse them together to make our own creations. This is something that I took for granted until I lived in other places and realized how limited the day-to-day food choices were.
The response you will get from a Canadian about what they think Canadian food is will vary from person to person. I am Ukrainian on my dad's side, so homemade perogies have been a part of my diet since I was a kid, but my mom's side is largely from the UK and so more traditional meat-and-potatoes types of meals were what we ate when we had dinner with them.
Today alone I have already had a cappuccino made with imported Italian espresso, a New York style bagel, gnocchi with tomato sauce and curry flavoured chicken, and Greek yogurt.
What is Canadian food? All food! It is a cornucopia of flavours, influences and delicious fusions from all over the globe — bon appetit!