There’s more to foodie travel than elaborate meals and unusual ingredients. Take snack food for example. It’s fun, it’s affordable, and — let’s face it — it’s delicious! Potato chips are my favorite travel treat, and in Canada, we take our potato chips seriously. From ketchup to lobster to poutine, these are some of the taste sensations to look out for on your next visit.
1. Ketchup Chips
To a casual observer, it may well seem like ketchup chips are Canada’s national food. Canadians can get very fired up about how important it is for visitors to try a bag! There’s fierce debate about which brand makes the best ketchup chips but one thing is guaranteed: your fingertips will be bright red when you’re done. And I think your mouth will be very happy. But be warned: ketchup chips are controversial. I love them but there are many anti-ketchup chip eaters out there.
2. All-Dressed Chips
Technically a mix of ketchup, barbecue, sour cream and onion, and salt and vinegar flavors, all-dressed chips are a true Canadian original. They were first produced by the Yum Yum potato chip company in Quebec in 1978 and their salty, zesty, biting blend of seasonings is irresistible. Ketchup chips may be more famous but all dressed chips are truly beloved — no controversy here.
3. Storm Chips
Like all-dressed, storm chips use a variety of different flavors. However, the spices aren’t mixed together to create one taste sensation. Rather, different potato chips (including creamy dill, homestyle ketchup, smokin’ barbecue, and salt and vinegar) are all mixed together in one bag. If you’re going to the grocery store to grab some snacks before a snowstorm, whatever you choose will have to satisfy your cravings for days until the blizzard passes. Storm chips will give you a little bit of everything.
Pro Tip: The term “storm chips” can also be used for any flavor of chip you stock up on before a storm or lockdown of any kind.
Talk about a new take on “fish and chips!” It sounds strange, but lobster chips are actually quite tasty. I was a lobster chip doubter until I had my first bag. At first, you taste a mild, sweet flavor, not unlike paprika. It takes a moment for the lobster to hit you! I think they’re the perfect picnic treat (especially if lobster sandwiches are served). This snack is an innovative creation from New Brunswick’s Covered Bridge potato chip company and is only available in a limited production run each year. And, yes, seasoning does contain real lobster.
Just about every region of Canada has its own version of the humble donair (or shawarma, or gyro). As such, it’s surprising that there aren’t more donair-inspired chips but Covered Bridge has developed a delicious one. The recipe is inspired by the sweet, creamy garlic sauce that traditionally accompanies a donair — and it packs one heck of a garlicky punch.
6. The Miss Vickie’s Brand
There are many brands of potato chips in Canada but perhaps none have such a devoted fan base as Miss Vickie’s. This popular brand of kettle-cooked chips first debuted in 1987 and has sold steadily ever since. Fan faves include malt vinegar and sea salt, balsamic vinegar and sweet onion, the sweet Southern barbecue, and spicy dill pickle (my personal favorite).
7. Hickory Sticks
Hickory sticks might just be the perfect Canadian road trip food. This wildly addictive snack is salty, smoky, and smolderingly delicious — and the tiny pieces mean a bag lasts forever.
Chip nerds will be keen to note that hickory sticks are one of the few products which still carry the “Hostess” brand name on the bag. This chip company was once ubiquitous across Canada until it merged with Lay’s. Alas, the new brand did revive the grape, orange, and cherry flavored potato chips which Hostess debuted in the 1970s, which was probably for the best.
8. Sour Cream And Bacon
Sour cream and bacon chips aren’t just my favorite chip of all time; they’re also a true patriotic snack. After all, Canadians are obsessed with bacon! These chips are the perfect way to pay tribute to that love affair and the Ruffles brand makes wavy, crunchy chips with a thick, velvety layer of seasoning which is nothing short of divine.
9. Roast Chicken
In many ways, roast chicken chips are a bit of a sleeper hit. They’re rarely named as anyone’s favorite chips but just the mention of their name is enough to send Canadians swooning. Ridiculously salty and richly seasoned roast chicken never fails to make us happy. We just can’t get enough of the flavor!
10. Poutine Chips
There’s a tragedy amid the tale of glory which is Canadian potato chip flavors. Poutine flavored chips are nearly impossible to find. But I haven’t given up hope, as the salty essence of the gravy and creamy goodness of the cheese curds are too fine a combination to let die. If you see a bag on your trip, grab them — and share them with your new Canadian friends.
Canada has some excellent restaurants and dishes. Consider: