Canadians and Americans have always had an interesting relationship. Despite being right across the border from each other, there are a surprising amount of differences between the two cultures, and it’s often a source of humor and playful ribbing between them. (Side note: Aren’t Mounties hilarious?) But hey, maybe our neighbors to the north are on to something. Hockey is great, so why not follow their lead in other aspects?
Take food, for instance. You’re probably already aware of poutine, the quintessential Canadian snack consisting of French fries topped with cheese curds and slathered in gravy. Delicious, sure, but this dish is so common it might as well be called “French-Canadian fries.” Digging deeper, there’s a whole host of different foods consumed up there in America’s Hat that’ll make you flip your lid. After reading about the following five Canadian foods, you just might want to plan a trip across the border. Don’t worry, there’s no wall. (Yet.)
Don’t worry, flipper pie doesn’t contain any crime-stopping dolphins — just the flippers of young harp seals. (Much better, right?) Primarily eaten in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador during the annual spring seal hunt, flipper pie contains meat that is dark, tough, gamey, and apparently tastes similar to hare. How appropriate, considering it is commonly consumed as part of Good Friday and Easter festivities.
Ketchup-Flavored Potato Chips
Ever wonder why Canadians put cheese and gravy on fries? Probably because all the ketchup is being used to flavor their potato chips. Seriously. Not only are ketchup chips a real thing, but several companies — including Lays, President’s Choice, and Old Dutch — make them on a regular basis. It’s worth noting the manufacturers because it shows that some of the ketchup chip varieties are actually produced by U.S.-based companies that simply don’t release the flavor stateside.
Ostensibly, Nestlé’s candy-shelled Canadian chocolate pieces aren’t very odd, until you consider what they are called. After all, they’re basically just M&M’s (which are made by Mars), with a new name. However, Nestlé calls them “Smarties,” which is also the name of a completely different, wafer-like candy made in the U.S. by a company of the same name. Further complicating things, Canadians actually have a version of American Smarties in their country, but they are called “Rockets.” Got all that?
Leave it to the Canadians to weird-up something as simple as gum. Over a hundred years ago, the oddly-named O-Pee-Chee company of London, Ontario, started producing bubble gum that would soon polarize the country. Although many residents adored the purple product called “Thrills,” many spurned its distinctive rosewater flavor, claiming it tasted like soap. Nestlé bought the company in the 1980s and moved production to Spain, where it is currently produced under the Willy Wonka brand, with recent packaging proudly stating: “It still tastes like soap!”
What’s so weird about ubiquitous Canadian doughnut chain Tim Horton’s version of Dunkin Donuts’ munchkins? Although both food items are basically doughnut holes, the Canadian version are called “Timbits.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not in any hurry to munch on Tim’s bits — even if they do come in 10 delicious flavors.