When it comes to cuisine, Canada is a melting pot of culinary influences. The Great White North may be the birthplace of poutine, BeaverTails and back bacon, but there’s far more to Canadian food than just these classics. Every province boasts its own specialty dishes, each of which is packed with iconic local flavours and shares its history. 

Whether you’re craving a light appetizer or a hearty, comfort meal, expand your horizons and dig into one of these unique foods in Canada.

Cod Tongues Newfoundland

Image by Edsel Little via Flickr.

Cod Tongues in Newfoundland

A staple of the Newfoundland diet, Atlantic cod can be found in kitchens across the province. From cod stew to fish and brewis to cod au gratin, Newfoundland boasts countless traditional and contemporary cod dishes. And no part of the fish goes to waste. 

Cod tongues are a delicacy in Newfoundland, often enjoyed as an appetizer or the main course with a side. Contrary to the name of the dish, cod tongues are not tongues at all. Each tongue is actually a small muscle extracted from the back of the fish’s throat. Traditionally, cod tongues are lightly battered, fried in pork fat, and topped with salt, pepper and crisp pieces of rendered pork fat called scrunchions.

Where: St. John’s Fish Exchange Kitchen & Wet Bar, an upscale Canadian eatery serving fresh local seafood.

Salmon Pie Quebec

Salmon Pie with Egg Sauce in Quebec

Quebec’s culinary scene boasts a handful of iconic dishes: poutine, smoked meat sandwiches and creton on toast. Alongside them is the classic tourtière, a pie traditionally stuffed with beef, pork or veal and potatoes. There’s no one correct filling — you’ll find a number of variations of the quintessential comfort food, including a seafood version known as salmon pie.

Salmon was commonly used to make the traditional Quebec pie in coastal areas of the province. Prepared in the same manner as any other pie, salmon pie uses the combination of salmon, potatoes and onions as the filling. The unique dish is then often served up doused in a creamy egg sauce. 

Where: Although you aren’t as likely to spot the dish on the menu of a restaurant in Quebec, salmon pie with egg sauce can be easily recreated at home with this traditional recipe.

Pickerel Cheeks Manitoba

Image by Emilee Rader via Flickr.

Pickerel Cheeks in Manitoba

As the land of 100,000 lakes,’ it’s no surprise Manitoba has whipped up some unique seafood dishes. Pickerel, also referred to as walleye across North America, is native to Lake Winnipeg as well as other Manitoba lakes. Though the white fish is traditionally served pan-fried or baked as a fillet, one part of the pickerel especially is considered a local delicacy.

Pickerel cheeks are a true Manitoba specialty. Made from the cheeks of the pickerel, a part of the fish often overlooked, the delicate, boneless piece of white meat is dipped in an egg and milk mixture before it’s coated in flour or bread crumbs, seasoned and fried.

Where: Seagulls Restaurant & Lounge, an eatery in Gimli, Manitoba that boasts incredible views of Lake Winnipeg.

Meat Fondue Alberta

Meat Fondue in Alberta

Fondue comes in many forms, from hot cheese and chocolate to oil and broth. And although the dish is not unique to Alberta, meat fondue is merely one of the ways the province enjoys to consume the beef, bison and game meat it raises. In this form, cubes of raw meat are pierced with fondue forms and then lowered into a fondue pot filled with bubbling hot oil, or alternatively placed onto a bed of hot rocks.

The Grizzly House, a Banff icon that has served meat fondue since 1967. The standard selection includes beef and seafood as well as game meats, such as buffalo, wild boar and venison. The more adventurous eaters can opt for the exotic fondue dinner, a medley of shark, alligator, rattlesnake, ostrich, frog legs, buffalo and venison.

Japadog Terimayo British Columbia

Image by Dan via Flickr.

The Japadog in British Columbia

Everyone is familiar with the classic hot dog — a simple grilled sausage served in the slit of a partially sliced bun, drizzled with ketchup and mustard. British Columbia, however, has taken the traditional hot dog to the next level with Japadog. 

Serving up hot dogs topped with Japanese ingredients like seaweed, teriyaki sauce and bonito flakes, Japadog is a delicious blend of American and Japanese cuisine. The signature Japadog hot dog combines teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo and nori seaweed to create the Terimayo. Some other unique combinations include the popular Japanese soba noodles and arabiki sausage as well as ice cream served a deep fried bun.

Where: At one of the seven Japadog locations in Vancouver.

Choice Hotels in Canada