More Canadian Stuff

When I was at the grocery store the other day I took a brief look in the cereal section.  The varieties of Corn Flakes available in Panama are amazing; they seem to be the “go to” cereal of choice.  In my brief perusal it occurred to me that one of my favourite cereals is not available here.  We can get several US brand items but some things that are uniquely Canadian are missing.  It got me to wondering about a few food items that we will probably never see in Panama.  Here is a short list of food related items that may have different names from their US counterparts or that may be available only in Canada:


Shreddies is a whole grain breakfast cereal made by Post Canada.   It’s made of dried malted whole grain wheat squares of inter-woven whole grain wheat resembling Chex cereal.  What Canadian kid hasn’t grown up eating Shreddies?  I miss them.



Doughnut holes from Tim Horton’s, Canada’s largest fast food service. The “bit” in the word Timbit is an acronym for Big In Taste.


Double, Double

Usually used at any Tim Hortons restaurant. A word used to describe how you take your coffee – two teaspoons of sugar and two creams, making the once zero calorie coffee into a fat loaded sweet treat.

Brown Bread

Also known as the fancier named whole wheat bread. In Canada if you ask for brown toast everyone will know what you mean. In the Maritimes brown bread is sweetened molasses bread usually served with home made baked beans, yum!

Butter Tart

A small pie consisting of butter, sugar, and eggs in a pastry shell, similar the base of pecan pie without the nut topping.  The butter tart has a runnier filling because there is no corn starch in it. Raisins are in the traditional butter tart, but walnuts can also be added although a true butter tart has no additions.  Quebec has the larger sugar pie that is often made with maple syrup.

Chocolate Bar

A candy bar, a few popular Canadian chocolate bars that stick out for me are:

Glosettes, little pieces of candy with a glossy chocolate coating on the outside, with either raisins or peanuts inside;

Caramilk, we’ve been trying to unlock “the Caramilk secret” for decades;

Crunchie, golden sponge toffee wrapped in Cadbury milk chocolate , a salty/sweet delight; and

Smarties, round chocolate filled candy that come in eight colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, mauve, pink and brown. They melt in your hands leaving a colorful stain, and they’re a lot sweeter. (Smarties are not distributed in the United States, except by specialist importers because the US rights to the brand name belonging to not Nestlé but the Smarties Candy Company, which manufactures its own hard tablet sweet under the name Smarties known as Rockets in Canada). Smarties also has one of  the most popular advertising jingles:

When you eat your Smarties,
Do you eat the red ones last?
Do you suck them very slowly?
Or crunch them very fast?
Eat that candy-coated chocolate,
But tell me when I ask,
When you eat your Smarties,
Do you eat the red ones last?


Seasoned meat in the shape of an inverted cone is turned slowly against a vertical rotisserie and then sliced vertically into thin, crisp shavings and wrapped in a pita and doused in a sauce containing made from sugar, vinegar, milk, and garlic. One of the tastiest treats ever.  Halifax is the queen of donair country.



Is a Canadian maker of snack pastries created in 1932, and named after two of the Vachon sons, Joseph and Louis in Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Quebec.  Vachon produces boxed delights such as  May West (white cake filled with creme, in a delicious chocloate coating similar to a Ring Ding), Joe Louis pronounced jo looey  (two red velvet cake rounds with a cream filling within a milk chocolate shell), Passion Flakie (flakey pastry, creme and fruit filling) and Ah Caramel! (a white cake with creamy filling, topped with caramel in a chocolate coating).  They also produce carrot cakes, swiss rolls, coconut cakes….

Nanaimo Bar

A dessert made of a crust of chocolate and cookie crumbs covered with vanilla custard cream filling and a chocolate glaze.  Bird’s Custard Powder is traditionally used to make the custard but I’ve had some success using vanilla pudding here, although my Nanaimo Bars are a little runnier they are still every bit as delicious.


This is a traditional meat pie, most popular in Quebec; usually made with finely diced pork, veal or beef.


The Caesar is a cocktail created in Canada.  It was invented in 1969 by restaurant manager Walter Chell of the Calgary Inn (today the Westin Hotel).   He created the cocktail after being asked to make a special drink for the Calgary Inn’s new Italian restaurant. The traditional Caesar is made with vodka, clamato juice (difficult to find outside Canada but surprisingly I have found small bottles here) Worcestershire sauce and celery salt and a dash of hot sauce. 



A brand name for a corn dog; a hot dog dipped in corn batter and then deep-fried.   A traditional Fair treat for most but popped into the microwave and with a dip of mustard a meal for others.


Reflecting back at my list I see that most of it is comprised of things that are not so good for you. I’m not longing for a big scarf but when my mind wanders I like to reflect on some of the things that make us uniquely Canadian in the campo.

****Please feel free to comment and add to the list!

More Reading:

Learning Spanish and Teaching Canadian English

Tasting Box March 2014 

Mammal Eats Montreal 

Maple Pie Pecan Bars

Cherry-almond Nanaimo Bars

Words I would never have used 5 years ago – or how to speak Canadian








About indacampo

You'll find me at blogging about Panama...and other things.
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14 Responses to More Canadian Stuff

  1. shellmcc1106 says:

    Oh butter tarts…how I love you. I haven’t heard the Smarties song in years, I was laughing while I was reading it. Thanks for the yummy food reminders, they might be great for you, but they sure are tasty.

  2. pklainer says:

    Karen, so our neighbors up north didn’t eat Twinkies growing up? Or am I to assume Twinkies are readily available in rural Panama? 🙂 Pam

    • indacampo says:

      Oh, they have something similar to a Twinkie here, and I actually think Vachon has something to do with producing the Hostess products in Canada. At least they did at one time. I know that here they have some sort of packaged cake that looks like a Hostess cupcake. Not that I’ve ever tried it and I can’t imagine that it sells that well. The Panamanians seem to go for those fatty packaged muffins for a treat.

      • pklainer says:

        for Karen: The Rio Hato villagers eat much more junk food now than they did back in the Peace Corps days, when such things weren’t available.

  3. Wow, those are all new to me too!

    • indacampo says:

      Oooh, glad I wasn’t throwing stuff out there that was readily available in the US. I think some things you can get in GB though…

  4. Loca Gringa says:

    Here, what two things I cannot find are:

    1. brown sugar, the real Canadian style brown sugar for baking, and,
    2. real lard for making pies, not that crisco junk 🙂

    • indacampo says:

      They have some sort of funny fat here to. You make pies? What do you do turn the air conditioner up full blast? I tried to make apple dumplings once and the pastry went all to as we say “rat sh*t” and I’ve never tried again. And in the land of sugar cane you can’t get some half decent brown sugar? Oh, come to think of it we get Domino from the US, but then we have to drive an hour to Chitre to buy it. 🙂

      • Loca Gringa says:

        tried crisco, was a big fail, but if i can make pies in manitoba at the high heat and humidity if i have lard then i could here too, but no lard here. eff they deep fry those parts of the pig, damn tasty though their chicharon

  5. John Pazera says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for the snack education.

  6. Emma says:

    ketchup chips? another canadian friend mentioned not being able to find them in the states, but i have found them here in PC 🙂

    • indacampo says:

      Yes, I’ve seen them somewhere in my travels. I don’t know if they are necessarily the brand that my mom enjoys but they are packaged very similarly. We stick with the chips in a tube, we don’t eat them fast enough and if you don’t eat those big bags all at once they turn to mush. I always enjoy going to Dustys because then we can share a whole bag of Lays.

      Just thought of another one, Old Dutch Potato Chips, but maybe that’s just a Western Canada thing.

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