What food is Manitoba known for? What food do we eat in Manitoba? I have already written a blog post on Canadian cuisine, but without really going into the details of our Prairie province.
So today, I am going to give you a list 10 Manitoba food you must try on your next visit!
Honey Dill Sauce
Manitoba’s first culinary specialty has to be the Honey Dill sauce. This sauce is made with honey, mayonnaise and dill and can only found in Manitoba. It is available in any supermarket – but impossible to find in the rest of Canada! Honey dill is everywhere, it’s an integral component of restaurant menus to accompany certain dishes (chicken fingers or sweet potato fries).
The Honey Dill sauce was created by mistake in the 1980s by a Winnipeg restaurant owner who wanted to reproduce the taste of a sauce he had eaten at a competitor’s restaurant… and voila!
Manitoba has the largest diaspora of Icelandic people outside of Iceland, around the town of Gimli on Lake Winnipeg. In the 1870s, the area was even the independent “Republic of New Iceland”! We can find traces of this Icelandic past in the topography of region but mostly in the food, including vinartera.
Vinarterta is a plum-based cake. It is an Icelandic specialty… which has actually completely disappeared in Iceland! It is sweet and a little floury, each recipe uses different spices, and it’s the kind of cake that is perfect for a snowy Sunday with a hot cup of coffee.
The best place to find this Iceland/Manitoba food is the Sugar Me Cookie bakery in Gimli.
The Fatboy Burger
As the name of this burger nicely suggests, the fatboy is fat. Imagine a burger, with chili, pickles, onions, salad, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise and most importantly, a cinnamon meat sauce. The creators of this burger were Greek immigrants who were trying to replicate the flavours of their country.
I have not (yet? ever?) tasted this Manitoba food…
New Bothwell Cheese
The Bothwell cheese factory, located in New Bothwell an hour south of Winnipeg, has been producing cheese since 1936. Of course, it is the sort of cheese you could find everywhere but I prefer to buy local produce when I shop.
You can buy Bothwell Cheese at the cheese factory directly, at Fromagerie Bothwell sur Provencher in Saint-Boniface (cheaper than in supermarkets) or in certain chain stores.
I am not sure we should take any pride to be famous for this food in Manitoba: Winnipeg has been designated the Slurpee capital of Canada for 22 years and running.
This distinction comes from the stores 7/11, which sell the most frozen drinks in the country in Winnipeg.
The pickerel and the goldeye
Lake Winnipeg, that I already mentioned earlier is the 11th largest lake in the world. Among the fish found in the Lake, two are considered local specialties : goldeye and pickerel.
Goldeye has been eaten smoked for centuries, according to Indigenous traditions. I don’t think I’ve ever had goldeye – by the way, fun fact, that’s also the name of the Winnipeg baseball team!
Pickerel, or walleye, is found in other parts of Canada and is very popular. It is a white fish, which is perfect in fish and chips, like in Gimli.
Fall suppers are one of my favorite Manitoba food traditions. In September and October each year, every small community outside of Winnipeg will host a meal, usually on a Sunday. For a fixed price (fifteen or twenty dollars), you have a complete homemade meal and the funds collected are then used for repairs or investments in the community.
My favorite is in Saint-Joseph, a small French community near Altona, which takes place just after Thanksgiving. But the fall suppers are really everywhere!
OK, perogies are not from Manitoba, they are found in Eastern Europe, Poland and Ukraine in particular. But these little dumplings stuffed with potatoes and cheese (and usually also with clotted cream) are a complete part of the Manitoba food scene.
Perogies are the first meal I wanted to eat when I became a permanent resident! It was a symbol for me.
The Schmoo Cake
Two possible spellings for this cake, schmoo or shmoo. It’s a sponge cake with layers of whipped cream and lots and lots of melted caramel sauce
It’s quite common in Winnipeg, you can find it at Baked Expectations in particular and I ate it at the very good Peasant Cookery restaurant in Birds Hill.
Bannock is an important element in the indigenous culinary tradition. The history of this Scottish fried flatbread dates back to the Hudson’s Bay Company and to a decline in the quality and quantity of tradable food. To make this bread all you need is flour, salt, water and lard. The best place to try it would be the Aboriginal restaurant Feast Cafe Bistro in Winnipeg.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of Manitoba food to try out! Which ones tempt you the most?
Other Manitoba things to do and see?
– the Canadian Fossil Discovery Center in Morden
– Birds Hill Park
– Nopiming Provincial Park
– Spend a day in Neepawa
– Winter glamping and dog sledding
– 12 things to do less an hour away from Winnipeg
– 10 foods to try in Manitoba
– the Pinawa Old Dam
– a guide of Rural Manitoba Museums
– Lower Fort Garry and the Fur Trade