Top Thirteen Most Canadian Snacks, Eh?
When you think of Canadian cuisine I can’t imagine you’re flooded with a large selection of mouthwatering foods. I would actually hazard a guess that most people, when trying to think of uniquely Canadian cuisine, end up thinking “????”. So I was surprised when I set out to write a list of Canadian snacks to find more material than I expected.
I’m Canadian and to be honest I’m marginally ashamed at how little we contribute to the world’s eclectic appetizers. That’s not to say we haven’t produced anything because we certainly have: Poutine (you’re welcome), Butter Tarts (you’re still welcome), Tortiere, Back Bacon, Nanaimo Bars, MAPLE SYRUP (okay it’s not exclusively ours but we pretend it is). But let’s face it. You don’t go to Mexico or India and find many Canadian restaurants.
We do, however, have a few Canadian snack foods that we hold dear. Snacks that, when I go away on holidays or when I was working abroad, I missed deeply. If ever I found them at a specialty or international store, I would make sure to stock up on some of these comforts from home.
So buckle up! Here are my Top Thirteen Most Canadian Snacks!
1. Ketchup Chips
If you’ve never heard of Ketchup Chips before, you might be grimacing right about now. And I wouldn’t blame you. In fact, I always think I hate Ketchup Chips until I open a bag and moments later find I’ve eaten the entire thing. This Canadian snack is found on most lists of uniquely Canadian snacks because of its continued popularity.
It’s debated as to whether the tangy, sweet, flavour of Ketchup Chips was originally started in Canada by the Hostess Chip company or in the United States by a company called Herr’s Snacks, but regardless of origin, Ketchup Chips remain commonly found throughout Canada. You can find them elsewhere, but it takes a lot more searching.
2. Hickory Sticks
Remember that Hostess Chips company we talked about earlier? Well, they’re back! But this time with an undebatable Canadian Classic: Hickory Sticks. The Hostess Chips company had a rough time for a while. They tried to introduce Orange, Cherry, and Grape flavoured chips (Ketchup’s not sounding so bad anymore, eh?). You can probably guess by the lack of Grape flavoured potato chips on the market how well that went over.
Hickory Sticks, however, were so successful that they remain one of the few products still sold under the Hostess name after Hostess rebranded itself as Lays, which is now a household name in the world of chip brands.
But Hickory Sticks are not just any potato chip. Oh no. As their name implies, they are tiny sticks of potato chips—slivers if you will—infused with a smokey hickory flavour. Canadian children shove handfuls of sticks in their mouths at a time and only feel regret if one stands upright and stabs them in the roof of their mouth. Ah, childhood.
3. All Dressed Chips
What do you think would happen if you mixed a number of popular chip flavours together? The owners of Yum Yum Chips asked that very question and gave it a whirl. Barbecue? Check. Salt and Vinegar? Check. Ketchup? Check. Sour Cream and Onion? Sure why not?
The result was All Dressed chips. A flavour that sounds like a terrible idea but turned out to be…not. Instead of flopping like some other chip flavours (cough cough Hostess Grape!), All Dressed continues to line the shelves of Canadian grocery stores to this day. And my tummy. It frequently lines my tummy.
4. Hawkins Cheezies
The world is pretty familiar with Cheetos: Air-filled styrofoam covered with powdered cheese. Now I have nothing against Cheetos. I love them, I do. But I feel like no matter how many I eat, I’ve just eaten a bowl of air. It’s like cotton candy. It just dissolves.
Enter Cheezies. It’s as if they compressed the Cheeto, making it denser. It’s crunchy, it’s cheesy, it’s satisfying. In fact, it’s so good that the company that creates it, Hawkins, dropped all their other products to focus exclusively on this beloved Canadian snack.
5. Maple Leaf Creme Cookies
I’m going to be square with you all. I don’t like these. They’re very sweet and to me, maple flavour belongs on a pancake or glazing a beautiful ham. And okay, you can get away with a little maple smoked bacon. The cookies? Too much for me. But apparently not for a great number of Canadians.
I still pass this grocery store staple any time I grace the cookie aisle. There are hundreds of recipes geared towards helping you replicate this Canadian classic, whether you want to or not. So if you’re really into that mapley goodness, or if you’ve simply never tried them before, give it a go. They’re not as terrible as I make them sound.
6. Coffee Crisp
I was floored to learn Coffee Crisp was a Canadian exclusive snack. This chocolate, coffee, wafer filled bar has been a part of my life since long before I ever liked coffee, and to find that the rest of the world has been deprived of such a delicacy was devastating.
Produced by Nestle, it started in the UK (by Rowntree) as a non-coffee flavoured wafer bar. Eventually, a coffee flavour was added, but with Rowntree’s acquisition by Nestle, the Canadian operation began producing Coffee Crisp as its own bar, rather than a variation of another chocolate. You can even get an ice-cream bar version!
Another shocker for me was learning that Caramilk is a Canadian produced candy bar and for the most part, a Canadian only sold product. Similar to Caramello bars sold in Australia, New Zealand, and the US, this bar is made up of squares of thin chocolate encasing a runny, delicious, caramel goop that ends up all over your chin and fingers. They have the Golden Key contest that has run on various occasions and basically they’re just amazing. And I’m so, so sorry if you’ve never experienced them before.
But it’s not too late!
8. Cherry Blossom
I’m going to be honest here. I can’t get behind this one. Even the photo on the package looks unappetizing to me. But if you’re someone who loves sickeningly sweet, syrupy goodness, this might be the chocolate for you.
Cherry Blossoms are a maraschino cherry surrounded by cherry syrup that is then trapped inside a dome of chocolate riddled with shredded coconut and peanut bits. It’s… really something.
As much as I bash it, some people must love it. It’s been around since the 1890s and you can still get it today. So if you want to feel like a rich 19th-century Canadian child picking out a special chocolate for Christmas, maybe check out the Cherry Blossom.
9. Glosette Raisins
Glosette is a Canadian company that specializes in chocolate covered things like raisins and peanuts. Essentially the Canadian version of Raisinets or Payne’s Poppets, this classic movie theatre snack comes in a bright purple box, rather than a bag. I have always loved Glosette Raisins despite never being very fond of raisins in most forms. So if you’ve never tried chocolate covered raisins, I highly suggest giving it a go. And hey, why not make it Glosette?
10. Pink Cream Soda
Okay. So I grew up on the border of the US and was there frequently. One day, I was with a group of friends and they pulled out some Cream Soda and my mind was boggled. It was yellowish? What? To me, Cream Soda was always a bright magenta colour. It turned your tongue pink. So I was very surprised to learn that it’s not as common to find pink Cream Soda elsewhere, OR that Cream Soda is primarily pink in Canada (sometimes completely clear), with other country’s yellow or brown coloured Cream Sodas being more difficult to find throughout the Great White North.
Supposedly the US version of Cream Soda is meant to taste like vanilla ice cream (Ice Cream Soda), whereas Canadian’s pink version adds the flavour of grenadine. Though I’ve heard people say cotton candy as well. I don’t know the exact intended flavour, I just know it’s delicious.
11. MacIntosh Toffee
Though MacIntosh Toffee originated in England, Canada took it and made it their own. Changing the soft, chewy caramel to a hard toffee bar that is wrapped in a tartan-clad box. They disappeared for a while and Nestle has brought them back, though many die-hard fans say the recipe has changed and it’s just not as good as the original. Just make sure you slap it and break it into tiny pieces. This toffee is not for biting!
12. Lucky Elephant Pink Candy Popcorn
Maybe Canada just has a thing for turning their snack foods pink. In the 1950’s Lucky Elephant Pink Candy Popcorn was the carnival snack of choice. Found at local shops and carnival stands. It features an old-timey box and is now considered a retro snack. Very cool. Also, each box comes with a tiny prize!
13. Big Turk
Another snack on this list that I personally don’t love, but for those of you with a taste for Turkish Delight, this is sure to be a… delight. Big Turk is a Canadian snack consisting of a bar of dark pink (there’s that pink again) Turkish Delight covered in a thin coating of chocolate. I feel like I have some sort of obligation to try it. That’s right, I’ve not tried it… but I have tried a different chocolate bar filled with Turkish Delight and discovered I do not like Turkish Delight. So why would I try Big Turk other than to prove my love of my country?
Let’s be real. Life’s too short for me to waste time trying Big Turk. But maybe it appeals to you?
What is your favourite Canadian snack? Did it make the list? Did I miss it! Leave a comment below!
What other country’s snack foods would you like to see?
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