Your Guide to Ethnic Foods
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
The fact that Canada has the highest share of foreign-born citizens amongst the developed countries, has undoubtedly shaped the food people eat and determined where they can find it. The first question any landed immigrant is going to ask once they are in Canada, is “where can I find my home food”? that was the first thing I found out from my Lebanese friends and acquaintances in Toronto!
Multiculturalism and a variety of eating experiences are besties, you would expect ethnic foods to feature regularly whether you are at home or when you are eating out. There is a direct proportionality between population by nationality and the abundance of ethnic foods; that makes the top 10 most popular cuisines in Canada Chinese, Japanese, American, Thai, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern.
Each culture brings its unique flavors and specialties: Chinese brought a variety of stir fried meats and sauces, for Italians it is the home-made pasta and thin crust pizza, spicy Pad Thai and curries for Thai, strong spices and Naan for Indians and 100 varieties of chili for Mexicans. They say that Richmond in BC is the capital of the Chinese cuisine, Vaughan in ON is capital of the Italian cuisine, Thunder Bay in ON that of Thai, Brampton in ON that of Indian cuisine, and Vancouver in BC the capital of Mexican cuisine. But I can confidently affirm that you will find some of the best ethnic food restaurants in almost all provinces across Canada, just make sure you check the reviews on Yelp before you decide which one to choose.
Ethnic grocery stores are also spread across the cities in all provinces. For Lebanese groceries, Adonis has different branches in Ontario and Quebec, you would feel at home while shopping in Scarborough branch, believe it or not, you will find DABKEH biscuits as well as all the ready to go home-made KEBBEH and TABBOULEH! The Turkish culture enjoys grocery shopping at Marche Istanbul & Smyrna – Laz Bakkal in Toronto. Japanese people go to T&T Supermarket in Alberta, Fujiya Japanese Foods in BC, and Ja Mae in Montreal. Italians go to Pasquale Bros in Etobicoke for saffron pastas and to La Grotta Del Formaggio for fresh Italian buffalo mozzarella in Vancouver. You name it, it is there!
The interesting point about the food market here is that most Canadians appreciate trying alternative cultures through food, and many add ethnic dishes to their daily routine to break up the meal flatness. So, don’t think twice if you are planning to start a catering business for your home-made cuisine, provided COVID issue becomes in the past!