There's more to
Canadian cuisine than poutine, bacon, and maple syrup. And if you were ever in
doubt, simply grab a fork in Eastern Canada—it won't be long before you eat
your way beyond all of Canada's most cringe-worthy gastronomical clichés.
The sea shapes
everything in Canada's Maritime Provinces and its cuisine is no exception. Seafood
is never far away; whether it's oysters, scallops, lobster or cod, a fresh meal
from the Atlantic is always within reach.
But Eastern Canadian
cuisine is more than just shellfish and the "catch of the day." Here
are five foods (including a few odd surprises) to seek out while traveling in
Worldly street food
connoisseurs will recognize this tasty treat from the alleyways of the Middle
East, North Africa, and even Europe. But here—on the streets of Eastern Canada—things
are always a little different.
Donair is the Eastern
Canadian twist on the famous Turkish döner kebab, substituting lamb for beef
and swapping the traditional yogurt-based sauce for a distinctively sweet
evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, and garlic blend. Served on flatbread along
with tomatoes, onions, and sometimes lettuce, donair is the perfect late-night
snack to end your day with a smile.
Ready for your quest to
find the best donair in Canada? Look no further than the acclaimed King of Donair
in Halifax, Nova Scotia, whose massive and delicious donairs will keep you
craving for (but too stuffed to eat) a second helping.
Wherever you are in
Eastern Canada, if it's lobster season, don't even think of leaving without
tasting a lobster roll, a summer favorite in the Maritimes.
Lobster rolls toss succulent
chunks of fresh lobster meat—mixed with mayonnaise and seasoned with
ingredients like salt, pepper, celery, lemon juice, or green onions—into fresh
buns of varying types. Throw in a few fries (from Prince Edward Island potatoes,
of course) and dill pickle spears alongside your meal, and you'll be set to enjoy
an East Coast seafood masterpiece worth writing home about.
Looking for some of Eastern
Canada's finest lobster rolls? Check out Steamer's Lobster Company or Saint
John Ale House in Saint John, New Brunswick, Evan's Fresh Seafoods in Dartmouth,
Nova Scotia or Fredies Fantastic Fishhouse in Halifax.
If there's one faux pas worth avoiding in New
Brunswick, it's confusing poutine râpée with
the similarly named artery-clogging mix of French fries, cheese curds, and
gravy from Quebec; the Acadians might never let you live it down.
As Eastern Canadian as
dishes come, poutine râpée is a traditional
Acadian potato dumpling stuffed with pork. Think perogies are hard to whip up
from scratch? Assembling and cooking poutine
râpée can be a whole day affair, often involving the entire family to
prepare all of its ingredients. When done properly, though, the result can be
magnificent, adapting well to different taste buds with toppings ranging from
savory (salt and pepper) to sweet (brown sugar and maple syrup).
Finding a poutine râpée to suit your style isn't difficult
throughout much of New Brunswick, but for a truly interesting take on an old
classic, try the gourmet poutine râpée
at Restaurant L’Idylle in the town of Dieppe, just east of Moncton.
It takes a true visionary
to spin an old favorite, with just a few minor twists, into a instant Atlantic
Canadian classic. But that's just what one creative chef from Halifax did when
he created garlic fingers.
Garlic fingers combine
the sensibilities of pizza and garlic bread in a uniquely Eastern Canadian way.
On pizza-like dough, chefs spread a mixture of garlic butter, herbs, and cheese
and bake until golden. Cut into thin strips and served along with donair or
marinara sauce, garlic fingers are the perfect compliment to just about any
East Coast meal and can be easily found at restaurants throughout Atlantic
With its towns,
landscapes, and distinctive accent, the Eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland
can feel more like a slice of Ireland than an island in North America—even more
so when someone plops a traditional Jiggs dinner on your placemat.
Irish-influenced Jiggs dinner combines corned beef, cabbage, turnips, and
carrots, all boiled together—often with figgy duff, a traditional bag pudding
dessert—to create a rich and tasty broth. Newfoundlanders cherish the
opportunity to share their most famous meal and offer it up to guests and
family alike on Sundays and holidays.
If you have a chance to
eat a Jiggs dinner with locals, take it; otherwise, a restaurant like Bacalao in
St John's, the capital of Newfoundland, will satisfy your craving for one of
Eastern Canada's most popular dishes.
Have you ever been to Atlantic Canada? What
are some of your favorite Eastern Canadian foods? Drop us a line in the comment