Pho in Saigon - © androog via Flikr

We’re Learning About Others Through Food

A recent survey shows that most Canadians tend to encounter other cultures first through Food. No surprise, I guess, considering the influx of immigration over the past century and the mingling of cultures that marks our urban scene. And it’s not just Chinese, Mexican and Italian Food anymore!

Greek Souvlaki Platter - © seriouseats.comGreek Souvlaki – Marinated Lamb grilled on skewers – with Pita Bread and Tzatziki Sauce…

What have you tried?

Almost 75 per cent of Canadians choose to experience other cultures through Food while 60 per cent say they say they’re more open to try Food from other cultures than they were a few years ago. Over 70 per cent say they turn to dishes from other cultures to change things up at dinner time. Variety is still the spice of life!

When asked what other-culture foods they have tried, over 80 per cent said they had tried Chinese, Italian and Tex-Mex. That’s 80+ per cent for each of those categories. More surprisingly, perhaps, 50 per cent said they had tried African Food, 44 per cent said they had tried Southeast Asian Food and almost 40 per cent had tried Korean Food.

How about making ethnic foods at home?

Sixty-one per cent of diners said they try other-culture Foods at restaurants before trying to make them at home.

A solid 65 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would like to try making other-culture foods at home but there are problems. More than a third – 36 per cent – feel making ethnic foods is intimidating while 38 per cent agree that it’s challenging to find the right ingredients. A significant number also said they had trouble with other culture traditional cooking methods.

How does the survey stand up?

I made a quick survey of my own neighbourhood, after reading the survey results…

  • 3 Local, One-off Pizza Joints
  • 2 Iberian (Spanish, Portuguese, Tapas) Restaurants
  • 4 Greek Restaurants
  • 1 Classic Italian Restaurant
  • 7 Chinese Restaurants
  • 1 Dim Sum Restaurant
  • 4 Lebanese (Shawarma plus other dishes) Restaurants
  • 1 Vietnamese Restaurant
  • 2 Thai Restaurants
  • 3 Thai Pho (Noodle Soup) Shops
  • 1 Caribbean Restaurant
  • 1 Tex-Mex (chain) Restaurant
  • 1 North Indian, Pakistani, Afghanistani Restaurant
  • 2 Indian Restaurants


  • 3 Chinese Take-out-only Restaurants
  • 11 Major-Chain Pizza outlets
  • 13 Major-Chain Burger Joints.
  • 23 Major-Chain Coffee Shops.

I can only conclude my suburban area of about 75,000 is in the forefront of other-culture eating!

~ Maggie J.