An American’s guide to Canadian food: baffled Yanks panic over what nibbles to serve at their Olympic parties
With little more than a week until the 2010 winter games, Americans are apparently stressing out over what to serve at their Canuck-themed Olympic parties. “I remember doing a viewing party for the Beijing Olympics, and we got a bunch of Chinese takeout,” a clueless party planner told the Sacramento Bee. He asked his Canadian friends, the local paper and even the Canadian consulate for help with his menu (since they clearly have nothing better to do).
Rather than recommending whale blubber and Tim Hortons, the Bee seeks advice from Michael Smith, the P.E.I. chef presently trying to forget his landmark trouncing on Iron Chef America by cooking for Olympians in Whistler. Smith recommends seafood chowder to represent the Maritimes, chinook salmon for the West Coast, and grains and legumes for the prairies. The piece also recommends tourtière and baked beans to reflect Montreal, “Chinese ginger beef” from Calgary (this baffles us, too), Nanaimo bars for Vancouver and, of course, poutine.
• Canadian food for Olympian appetites [Sacramento Bee]
3 thoughts on “An American’s guide to Canadian food: baffled Yanks panic over what nibbles to serve at their Olympic parties”
LOL @ Ginger Beef from Calgary. Yes, it is VERY popular there. The shops advertise it on their windows in HUGE letters on 17th ave.
Actually ginger beef is a notable dish from Calgary. Dr. Josephine Smart, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, discovered that Chinese immigrants who opened cafés developed this type of cuisine due to the ingredients available in their new habitat and to accommodate the North American palate. They “took note of Caucasians eating roasted meat smothered in gravy, eating more deserts, and sweetening their coffee and tea with sugar and kept these habits in mind when creating new dishes” including ginger beef. – http://www.ucalgary.ca/alumni/subscriptions/arche/2002/july
The dish itself consists of strips of ginger marinated beef that’s been battered and fried, then stir-fried in a sweet and tart sauce with grated ginger, julienned celery, onions, carrots and (hot and bell) peppers. The contrast of crisp, flavourful strips of beef to unctuous sauce and just wilted sweet vegetables is fantastic. Forget chicken balls and egg rolls, this is the ultimate Canadianized Chinese food.
Lucky Calgarians can find it at most Calgary Chinese restaurants and at food court vendors (Silver Dragon is my pick). Some places like Melrose have it on their menu. It’s addictive and fabulous, with or without rice.
A few places in Toronto claim they have the “Calgary style” ginger beef, but they don’t. It is not beef and ginger stir-fry; it is not beef jerky covered in molasses (I’m looking at you Pilot).
The only thing that was listed in this article, that truly comes from British Columbia, (where the Olympics are being held) is Nanaimo Bars!!
You forgot one of the most recognized sushi dish today, California Roll, which was first invented in Vancouver in Tojo’s restaraunt, as well as the B.C. Roll, which is made with Salmon.
We have about as many maple syrup trees here in British Columbia, as say Sacramento!!, so needless to say it’s not a huge culinary influence as it might be in the eastern part of Canada….same as beaver tails, I was born and raised in Vancouver, and have yet to run into this delicacy in 40 years of life.
I guess it’s like going to Sacramento and saying where’s all the philly cheese steak vendors???, or
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