Canadian Cuisine

Canadian Cuisine
Many foodies will jokingly laugh off the idea of Canadian cuisine as an oxymoron. This northern nation is not known for its food and, in fact, is often the butt of jokes for its lack of flair and originality. But to say that there is no decent cuisine in Canada would an unfair and inaccurate statement.

Like all colonised countries, the cuisine in Canada is based almost entirely on the traditions and recipes brought over by its immigrants, both historic and contemporary. Canadian cities are the best places to experience a wide diversity of ethnic cuisine from around the world thanks to their colourful demographics.

Toronto and Vancouver have incredible restaurant scenes, with authentic cuisine from Asia, Africa and Europe on offer. It is difficult, however, to name a national Canadian dish. Many would argue it is something like butter tarts or the French-inspired poutine, a mix of French fries, curds and gravy. But perhaps it is a product, such as maple syrup, since Canada is the world's biggest producer and exporter of maple syrup.

The influence of the French is unmistakable in many of the typical Canadian dishes thanks to its role as the original European colonists here. This is particularly clear in the eastern half of the country, and if you venture into the province of Quebec you'll be hard-pressed to find anything but French cuisine.

Canada also enjoys a bounty of fresh produce and fish. Upscale restaurants can take advantage of a bounty of rare things like chanterelle mushrooms, blueberries, cranberries, baby ferns and other interesting culinary components. The eastern coast is known for its lobsters and cod, while the Pacific region on the west boasts much of the world's best wild salmon.

But outside of the major cities it may be hard to find anything more exotic than pizza or Chinese food. The truth is Canadian food can be rather bland and uninventive. It heavily resembles typical American food, with large breakfasts centred around pancakes, eggs, potatoes and coffee. Lunch can often be a sandwich or a trip to the fast food joint for a burger. Dinner is pasta, pizza, kebabs and other common global cuisine.

This is perhaps rural Canada's weak point. Unlike wandering around the countryside of southern Spain or Thailand, there is little in the way of native dishes to tempt visitors. The food is certainly palatable but rarely fails to win plaudits for travellers with a genuine love of eating well.