One of the best things about travel is experiencing new and different cuisines. Sushi in Japon, Ragu alla Bolognese in Italy, feijoada in Brazil--wherever you travel, there's always at least one native dish you just have to try.
If it's your first time in Canada, why not taste Canadian foods that are quintessentially Canadian? Start with these five famous Canadian foods.
Note: Since my focus is on Vancouver, BC I explain where to find these Canadian foods in Vancouver, but these are national dishes that you'll find across the country.
Poutine is the (unofficial) national dish of Canada. It originated in Quebec but is eaten everywhere.
Poutine is French fries topped with cheese curds ("squeaky cheese") and brown gravy. It's basically Canadian comfort food; pair it with beer, or knock back a few first for a truly authentic experience.
A Nanaimo Bar is a Canadian dessert bar with three layers: a crumble-wafer bottom, custard-flavor butter icing middle, chocolate top. Of course, there are also endless flavor variations--peanut butter Nanaimo bars, mint Nanaimo bars, even gluten- and dairy-free Nanaimo bars.
The name Nanaimo refers to Nanaimo, BC, a city on Vancouver Island, just off the coast of Vancouver. If you're in Vancouver, you can do a day trip or weekend getaway to Nanaimo and gorge yourself on Nanaimo bars on their Nanaimo Bar Trail.
The maple leaf is the symbol of Canada and Canada is the world's largest producer of maple syrup (most of it comes from Quebec and the eastern provinces). So, naturally, there are lots of foodie treats made with real maple.
The best place in Vancouver for maple treats--everything from real maple syrup to maple candy--is Edible Canada on Granville Island, where you can find a variety of maple products, perfect for sampling and for bringing home as gifts or souvenirs.
Smoked BC Salmon
Walk into any high-end tourist shop in Canada and you'll likely find smoked salmon from British Columbia, usually packaged in a cedar or bentwood box and decorated with BC First Nations art. That's doubly true in Vancouver, where the salmon is local and a staple of Pacific Northwest Cuisine.
Bannock is a griddled bread (or "biscuit-type" bread) that is a staple of Canadian Aboriginal cuisine. You can sample bannock yourself at Vancouver's Salmon n' Bannock Bistro (7-1128 West Broadway), one of Vancouver's Best Pacific Northwest Restaurants.