The rise of ethnic eats in Canada

Soba Noodle Vegetable SaladCulture and food go hand-in-hand, so much so that immigration to Canada has altered and shaped the food we eat and how we gather for communal meals. Canada has the highest share of foreign-born citizens of any G7 country, and over the last decade, more than two million people have come into our borders. Not only is Canada a multicultural place, but according to Mintel’s “Ethnic Foods and Flavours” report, we’re also a nation that loves trying new eats! Here is an overview of the report’s top findings:

Been there, tried that
Whether you live in a large urban city or a smaller town, it’s not hard to find a Chinese, Italian or Mexican restaurant nearby. In fact, these are the most common ethnic foods eaten by 89%, 84% and 82% of Canadians, respectively. While these might be the current favoured flavours, Canadians are also keen to try more adventurous cuisines. Half of respondents said they are interested in trying African-inspired foods, while Southeast Asian cuisine came in second (44%).

Spicing up the routine
The majority of Canadians enjoy experiencing alternative cultures through food, and many add ethnic eats to their weeknight routine to break up the monotony of mealtime. Beyond the three square meals, snack time is primetime for flavour experimentation. Thirty-seven per cent of Canadians surveyed reported interest in snacks with ethnic flavours; these numbers were highest among millennials. However, Canadians might not have the most adventurous palates when it comes to dipping their toe into this world of flavour – one-third agreed that they prefer “Canadianized” versions of ethnic-inspired meals.

Homemade versus take-out
Despite the craving for international eats, we’re timid to try making them ourselves. Three in five Canadians surveyed said they’d prefer to go to out for ethnic eats, before making similar dishes at home. Despite the rise of international products available in grocery stores, it may be product availability that keeps Canadians from cooking in their own kitchens. Thirty-eight per cent said it’s difficult to find the right ingredients, while 36% are intimidated by the processes of making ethnic meals.

To satisfy adventurous palates with familiar ingredients, try one of these recipes:


Source: Mintel Ethnic Foods and Flavours