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The Maritimes provinces of Canada have a distinct culture that is much different from the rest of the country. Traditional food in Halifax are often those most readily available from the sea and influenced by immigrants to the region. Do not leave Halifax without trying these ten foods:
The iconic food of Halifax, rumour has it when Bill Clinton visited for the G7 Summit he took donairs back on the plane with him.
Invented by Greek Immigrants, they are similar to gyros but the different is in the donair sauce, which is a mix of condensed milk, vinegar, icing sugar and garlic. It seems odd but it’s loved so much that you can get it as a dipping sauce for pizza sliced.
King of Donair is the original location for this treat and while there are now upscale versions of this dish, locals will tell you to go to KOD for the real deal.
Most local pubs and cafes offer a cream based seafood chowder on the menu and an option for half a sandwich and cup of chowder. Chowder is so popular in Nova Scotia that you can buy “chowder mix” at the grocery store, which are scraps of fish, shrimp and sometimes lobster so that you can inexpensively make it at home.
Halifax has a direct line to world class mussels from neighbouring Prince Edward Island. Coleville Bay, Raspberry Point and Malpeques amongst others can be found at Halifax restaurants.
Eat them the way locals do, with a bit of lemon, hot sauce or mignonette.
Fish and Chips
While you can find fish and chips throughout the world, Nova Scotia is home to haddock fish and chips. It’s possible to find fish and chips with cod but most often it will include local Nova Scotia haddock.
To get the best fish and chips make sure you go somewhere that batters them fresh to order rather than serving frozen battered fish.
A dish unique to Nova Scotia, it can be best described as a cream based vegetable chowder. It’s common to make this at home in the summer with fresh vegetables that are boiled and then added to a cream broth.
While the dish is traditionally vegetarian, it’s is occasionally served with meat.
Without a doubt the best scallops in the world come from Digby, Nova Scotia. These sea scallops are exported all over the world but you can also get them fresh and seared to perfection in Halifax.
Deep Fried Pepperoni
A pub favourite brought to Nova Scotia by Polish immigrants.
The original pepperoni dish used a specific brand of Brothers pepperoni but today it can be found using any pepperoni and served with honey mustard or hot mustard dipping sauce.
A traditional Acadian dish, it’s not really a pie but a casserole and not common in modern restaurants. Rappie pie has a bad reputation as being useful for wallpaper paste as it can have a glue-like texture.
Potatoes are grated and pressed to remove all moisture. It’s then baked with chicken (or other meats) and broth. It’s an acquired taste and great pies have a crispy texture to balance the glutinous center.
A red seaweed found in Nova Scotia. You can buy it dried by the bag in local markets. But also young chefs in local food restaurants are using it as an ingredient for its salty umami flavour.
It’s often a debate in the Maritimes of who has the best lobster and Bluenosers will insist that Nova Scotian lobsters are better than those in Prince Edward Island because the water is colder.
As locals eat lobster at home, a full lobster dinner can be expensive. If you’re on a budget pick up a cold lobster roll, which is far more common for locals to eat when ordering out.