5 Must-Try North American Dishes

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Whether you’re a new student in North America, or have been studying in Canada or the United States for a few years, here are 5 must-try dishes that are a huge part of North American culture!

5. Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy on a large white plate dotted with hot sauce.

Image Credit: Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The combination of biscuits and gravy has been around since the ages of the American Civil War. It was once an American staple in the South because of its simple ingredients and quick preparation time. Today, biscuits and gravy have become a national breakfast food that can be found at almost any breakfast restaurant in the South.

Composed of soft, doughy biscuits covered in your choice of gravy, the All-American dish is topped with drops of milk, flour, sausage, and other kinds of meat. Although some find it a little too heavy for breakfast, biscuits and gravy is popular because of its rich, savoury, and flavourful taste, and can be eaten at any time of the day.

To make your own American-style biscuits and gravy, try out this recipe!

4. Buffalo Chicken Wings

A plate of buffalo chicken wings with sides of celery, and blue cheese and ranch sauces for dipping

Image Credit: Shelby L. Bell from Omaha, NE, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buffalo chicken wings were created in 1964 by Teressa and Frank Bellissimo at their restaurant, Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York when their son and his college friends arrived at the restaurant for a late-night snack.

Faced with the problem of leftover chicken wing inventory, Teressa decided to toss the wings in cayenne hot sauce and served the very first dish of what soon became a North American classic. From Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl to the National Buffalo Wing Festival, Buffalo chicken wings have deeply ingrained themselves in North American cuisine.

Buffalo chicken wings are unbreaded and tossed in a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter. Although simple, the perfect Buffalo chicken wing will have a powerful and spicy flavour, making you want second servings! Obviously, the best place to find Buffalo chicken wings are in Buffalo, New York, but you can find them at almost any chicken wing restaurant across North America.

To explore your own adventure of chicken and spice, check out this recipe!

3. BeaverTails

A cinnamon and sugar-topped pastry wrapped in a napkin, held by a happy diner.

Image Credit: Elisachang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Starting as a wholesome, sweet family recipe, and transforming into a corporation in 1978, BeaverTails became a multi-national company that instilled a little taste of Canada wherever it was sold with its renowned, “BeaverTail”.

A fried dough pastry, the BeaverTail is a sugary delight that is topped with your choice of fruits or sweets, such as bananas, whipped cream, crumbled Oreos, cinnamon, and much more. You can choose your adventure and customize your own BeaverTail! The best places to get a BeaverTail is in Montréal or Ottawa, where the dish is most popular.

Curious? Try the BeaverTail in the comfort of your own home! Follow this recipe and experience the best dessert you’ve ever had!

2. Hamburger

A pair of In-N-Out burgers (a classic California fast-food chain)

Image Credit: Jef Poskanzer from Berkeley, California, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While its origin is highly contested among historians, the American hamburger is one of the most famous North American dishes in the world partly due to the globalization of popular foods. The hamburger is essentially a sandwich with one primary staple – a spices-and-herbs-infused patty encased by two hamburger buns.

From chicken to ground beef, the hamburger is another “choose your own adventure” dish that allows you to customize your sandwich with a wide variety of toppings such as pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, cheese, and even potato chips! As an extremely flavourful and filling dish, the entrée can be found almost anywhere in the world – both in fast food and casual dining restaurants. The best hamburgers can be found where the chefs of the kitchen make the dish the most creatively – commonly in big cities like Toronto or New York.

Can’t wait to taste the wave of flavor? Make a hamburger with this recipe now!

1. Poutine

A plate of poutine (fries! gravy! cheese curds!) on a table with a hamburger, french fries, and a blue sippy cup

Image credit: Paulo O from Halifax, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Originating in rural Québec at snack bars during the 1950s, poutine has since become the dish that signifies the Canadian national identity. As simple as fries, cheese curds, and gravy, poutine has captured the hearts of every Canadian as it appears in many fast-food and casual dining restaurants in the country.

While many prefer the classic poutine, the dish comes in many forms. From the supreme poutine (nacho cheese, sour cream, gravy, cheese curds, tomatoes, fries, and green onions) to pulled pork poutine (pulled pork, barbecue sauce, gravy, cheese curds, and fries), like the hamburger and BeaverTail, poutine is perfectly customizable to suit your food loving needs! Search for quality poutine in Toronto or Montréal or poutine specific places called “poutineries”. This dish will not disappoint!

Can’t wait until you arrive in Canada? Try this recipe and experience the Great White North yourself!

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