Atlantic Canada is a great destination for food lovers. Lobster, cod and oysters are probably already on your list of must-eats, but here are six traditional local delicacies to track down that will take you to the heart of Atlantic culinary culture.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of poutine, the Canadian pride that is gravy-soaked chips and cheese curds. In New Brunswick, Poutine Rapée, a potato dumpling with seasoned pork in the centre, is considered something of an national dish by its French-speaking Acadian people. The rest of Atlantic Canada has its own variant, “Rappie Pie,” a poultry dish with grated potatoes, layered and baked until golden brown. The dish often varies from one place to another, or even from one family to another, but it’s always considered a treat!
Malpeque Bay is located on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, and it is renowned for its top quality, plump and sweet oysters. The Malpeque oyster was judged the world’s tastiest oyster in 1900 and to this day is still recognized as one of the world’s finest, known for a clean sharp taste and affordable price.
Another traditional dish invented by the Acadians, fricot is a brothy stew with potatoes, dumplings, and either chicken, fish or seafood. When it is prepared without meat, it’s jokingly called a “fricot à la bezette,” meaning “weasel fricot.” It’s often flavoured with “summery savoury,” a herb native to the region, and served with bread.
Perhaps the most widely known dish, many have laid claim to chowder, but the clam variety of the creamy soup is particularly tasty when it comes straight from the sea like it does in Atlantic Canada. The broth is made with new potatoes, butter, milk and cream. It’s said that Maritimers don’t lose sleep over whether their chowders are “authentic” – they know a true bowl of clam chowder by its simple, hearty flavours.
Popular in Nova Scotia, Hodge Podge – or Hodegy Podegy – is a stew with fresh vegetables, usually potatoes, fresh peas, green beans and carrots. The vegetables are cooked in a milk broth with butter, pepper and salt, and sometimes the dish is accompanied by corned beef. Hodge Podge is generally eaten in July and August when the vegetables are in season.
Loved by locals and tourists alike, lobster rolls are a popular sandwich filled with lobster meat soaked in butter. These delicacies can be found all along Canada’s east coast with many vying for the title of best lobster roll. Lobster rolls are a staple summer treat, so much so that they can be found on many restaurant menus, so you might just want to try more than one.