Ryan O'Rourke a RoamRight Blog Author

Foodie Guide to Traveling in Eastern Canada


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 Canada's Maritimes.


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.

Lobster Rolls

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.

Poutine Râpée

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.

Garlic Fingers

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 Canada.

Jiggs Dinner

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.

The unmistakably 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 section below!

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke, a RoamRight Blog Author

A perfect storm of wandering wordsmith and travel photographer, Ryan O'Rourke lives and breathes travel. For the last decade, Ryan has roamed around the world, living in 4 different countries and visiting over 30 countries along the way with no signs of slowing down. Ryan's insatiable wanderlust inspired him to found Treksplorer where he now writes about his adventures and offers unconventional travel planning, language learning, and travel photography tips for independent travellers.

When not out and about, Ryan calls Northern Ontario home, and enjoys basking in the great Canadian outdoors and lazily chilling by the campfire with an acoustic guitar. Follow Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

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