Happy Canada Day!! Today is a chance to celebrate things Canadian, even Canadian food.
McDonald's in Canada just spent the month of June trying to celebrate Canadian food in the Great Canadian Taste Adventure.
As someone who hosted a talk about what Canadian food means, I had more than a chuckle over McDonald's take on Canadian food.
These are the 5 Canadian McDonald's dishes that extols the virtues of Canada.
- Cottage Country Chicken — The sandwich is made with "crispy seasoned Ontario-raised chicken with a smokey Muskoka sauce." As far as I know, Muskoka sauce is like a maple sweetened barbecue sauce, though I don't have much experience with cottage country. If the sauce has a maple flavour, we don't know that from the advertising. Without having had the original sauce, there is little way to know if McDonald's comes close to the real thing.
- Western BBQ Burger — The beef is raised in Western Canada (Alberta?) with a "taste of the prairies with sweet and smokey BBQ flavour." Western BBQ burgers have been done but not with a "taste of the prairies." Unfortunately, we don't know what is in the burger to know what that means. And how close is the Western BBQ burger sauce to the Muskoka sauce?
- McLobster — An item actually sold in Atlantic Canada, the sandwich contains "succulent pieces of 100% Atlantic lobster in a soft buttery roll." This has been on my radar to try but haven't been in the right place at the right time. The picture is of a lobster roll you might want to try. Every McLobster review I have read says otherwise. You can get better lobster rolls in Atlantic Canada. A McLobster is still on my bucket list, perhaps this summer, though it's an expensive (by McDonald's standards) item to try.
- Maple and Bacon Poutine — The poutine comes with "Quebec cheese curds." Maple and bacon are always tantalizing temptations but might be overkill in an already calorie-intense dish. McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's in Canada offer regular poutine but I haven't been tempted by them. If you are close enough to decent poutine, you know where you are not headed.
- Chocolate Nanaimo Sundae — The Nanaimo part is Nanaimo crumble over McDonald's vanilla soft serve. Some may call that ice cream but that doesn't hit my standards for ice cream. A Nanaimo crumble would make soft serve taste better but not as good as … an actual Nanaimo bar.
If I had been in Canada in June, I would have tried the lobster sandwich (mostly for laughs) and the poutine (for a lark). Even if I had tried the other 3 items, my taste buds still wouldn't have thought we were in Canada.
The ad copy feels more Canadian than the actual food. The cottage country chicken actually comes from Ontario, but most of its chicken probably comes from Ontario. Same goes for the Alberta burger; it's Alberta but isn't the Quarter Pounder from Alberta too?
The promotion offered non-food prizes tied into the 5 locations in the "adventure." The Grand Prize was trip tied to the 5 locations — the Laurentian Wilderness was the Quebec entry.
Secondary Prizes included a set of Muskoka chair sets; a "one-year supply" of real Canadian maple syrup; artisan painted paddles; a Canadian Tuxedo: 3 piece jean-on-jean ensemble.
McLobster, the one special menu item that normally exists, will now be on menus in the northeastern United States. McDonald's in the States launched the sandwich in 1993. That didn't last long, but the sandwich was seasonally available in New England until 2005.
A butter chicken sandwich with grilled chicken; an elk burger; a lobster roll with very little mayo and a better bun; smoked meat poutine; and an actual Nanaimo bar — these would have felt more Canadian. But we are talking McDonald's.
Standard disclaimer: I have not tried any of these McDonald's Canadian dishes. However, having eaten many regional and national Canadian dishes across the country, chances are you should be able to do better on your own.
Can't vouch for all of these dishes in this BuzzFeed article, but this list is a lot more Canadian. Butter tarts, anything with maple, grilled salmon, poutine. If you have a Tim Hortons near you in the States, have some Canadian donuts.
Canadian food: a great way to honour Canada Day.
video credit: McDonald's Canada