Story Ideas

10 things you need to know about…Canada’s Aboriginal cuisine.

The First Nations menu has plenty to savour, including buffalo stew, pulled bison sliders, arctic char and—of course—salmon.

11 June 2014

Suggested tweet: 10 places to experience authentic First Nations cuisine in Canada #explorecanada

If you want to explore the world of Aboriginal culture and cuisine, then look no further than Canada, home to 630 First Nations groups. Food plays a vital role in their culture; here are 10 places you can experience this unique cuisine. 

1)Smashed-in-Head-Buffalo Jump, AB

You’ll work up an appetite exploring 6,000 years of history at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about the Blackfoot and their traditional buffalo hunt, hike with Blackfoot guides or listen to the stories of tribal elders. Take time to tuck into buffalo stew at the Head-Smashed-In Café. 

2) Hotel-Musée Premières Nations, QC

Experience a Labrador tea ceremony by the fire at this luxe hotel, Canada’s only Huron-Wendat community. Or take a guided tour of the museum and then indulge at its gourmet restaurant; its menu features First Nations Huron-Wendat specialties such as mugwort-roasted pheasant and red deer.

3) Wanuskewin Heritage Park, SK

Find out what life was like for the nomadic Northern Plains people at their annual gathering place. The interpretive centre has plenty of hands-on activities, along with a gallery and theatre. Savour Aboriginal-inspired delicacies such as pulled bison sliders or rabbit stew in the restaurant. 

4) Spirit Bear Lodge, BC

The lodge offers bear-watching tours in the ancestral lands of the Kitasoo Xai’xais. Curl up and watch orcas (killer whales) and sea lions swim past your window at the longhouse-inspired lodge on the shores of the Klemtu River before feasting on traditionally prepared local salmon. 

5) Nk’Mip Cellars, BC

North America’s only Aboriginal-owned and operated winery, Nk’Mip Cellars produces award-winning red and white wines on the shores of beautiful Lake Osoyoos. 

6) Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre, BC

An authentic First Nations ambassador from the Squamish or Lil'wat Nations will guide you around the centre, sharing stories and songs. Afterward, head for Thunderbird Café for Squamish salmon chowder. 

7) Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, YK

Explore First Nations history at this Aboriginal centre. Check out the art gallery, take a guided tour or discover more about traditional Kwanlin Dün food, especially the local salmon. 

8) Great Spirit Circle Trail, ON

The Great Spirit Circle Trail on Manitoulin Island is full of the stories and legends of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi First Nations. Join one of the workshops and learn to make native bannock over an open fire. 

9) Torngat Mountains Base Camp, NL

Immerse yourself in Inuit culture: fish in icy waters to catch your supper of arctic char, then savour it as you sit around the fire listening to Inuit elders tell stories about their ancestral land.

10) Salmon and Bannock, Vancouver

This BC city has a wealth of First Nations art and culture, including authentic totem poles in Stanley Park and an impressive collection of First Nations art at the UBC Museum of Anthropology. End your day at Salmon and Bannock, tasting First Nations delicacies such as wild sockeye salmon, bison and elk.

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