Thursday, July 24, 2014

Newfoundland Food Favourites

When I go on vacation I love to sample regional specialty dishes and interesting new foods (although we are frugal so we cook for ourselves lots of the time as well, to cut costs).  While Newfoundland is known for some rather dubious foods such as fried bologna and vienna sausages, it also has fine seafood and delicious traditional baked goods available and we were fortunate to be able to sample some of each.

We had several delicious fish dinners - some we bought and some we cooked ourselves.  A couple of highlights include the fish cakes at The Treasure Box in Rocky Harbour (Gros Morne Park).  They were delicious and served with toutons (more about them later), molasses, baked beans, and mustard pickles.  The Treasure Box is both a craft shop and a relaxed cheerful eatery.

We also had amazing fish and chips from The Little Red Chip Wagon in the parking lot of the Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point (Gros Morne Park).  It was raining the day we had the fish and chips so we ate in our car looking out over the harbour.  The fish and chips with cole slaw were perfect.  The fish was crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside and the fries were homemade. Mmmm, wish I had some right now in fact.


We also had the most delicious salmon cakes when we stayed on Quirpon Island in a Lighthouse Keeper's Inn .  They gave me the recipe so when I make them I will let you know.

We also had a Jiggs dinner when we stayed on Quirpon Island.  It is a traditional boiled dinner consisting of corned beef, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, turnips, pease pudding, and dumplings all boiled together.  It was served with molasses for the dumplings and mustard pickles for the corned beef.  I know there are many variations to this dinner, both around Newfoundland and all down the eastern seaboard of Canada and the USA.  I'm not sure how they vary - anyone know?  I think one of the more unusual elements in this boiled dinner was the pease pudding, which was made by boiling split peas in a bag along with the rest of the dinner.

We also tried a few traditional baked goods. Touton which is a like a pancake made by frying bread dough in a pan with butter or pork fat was often made by the fisherman as a quick way to get some bread ready for the lunch meal.  It is served with molasses or corn syrup.  The first time we had touton they had a more homemade appearance (which you can see below as compared to the breadish rounds on my plate with the fish cakes in the first photo).  

I just had to show you the charming 1940s fishing cabin where we first discovered toutons. The toutons had been cooked as part of a demonstration by one of the Parks Canada staff in Gros Morne National Park.  I love the laundry billowing out on the clothes line behind the cabin.  Boy was it windy there! 

And finally we had molasses buns which tasted a bit like gingerbread, although they don't have any ginger in them.  I guess molasses and cinnamon together trick the brain into thinking it is gingerbread. The molasses buns tasted delicious heated up with a bit of butter on them with a cup of tea.  I also have the recipe for these and will give them a try soon.

Newfoundland is famous for its bakeapples which ripen at the end of the summer.  You can buy bakeapple jams, spreads, syrups, and desserts all over the province.  We bought many containers of bakeapple spread and had it on bread every day for lunch.  Yummy!  

We also bought a few jars of jam as gifts when we visited the Dark Tickle company in St. Lunaire-Griquet in Northern Newfoundland. Don't you love the name - Dark Tickle (although really it has a more maritime meaning than one would initially think because a tickle is a Newfoundland word for a narrow channel of water).  You could buy Dark Tickle products all over Western Newfoundland.  

And finally we couldn't resist bringing these bags of chips home for the kids to try.  I feel like you could have your whole meal and it would just involve eating chips with different flavours on them.  We've tried the roasted chicken and it was popular with 50% of us - the other 50% not so much.  Have you ever had these flavours?  Do you have unique chip flavours where you live?  Do tell.  We have barbecue, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, and ketchup, and plain, of course.

So there you have it - some of the food highlights from our trip.  I'm keen to cook up the salmon loaf and the molasses buns so I'll let you know how they taste once I've made them.


  1. What a lovely food tour. Corned beef and cabbage out here on the west coast is usually the corned beef, carrots, cabbage and potatoes (along with your favorite seasonings of course) and is often called Boiled Dinner. The Toutons you showed look a lot like what we call Dough Babies. It is a biscuit dough flattened and fried in a pan with a little oil and/or bacon grease. It is great for camping or at home - we eat them for breakfast, split and with butter and maple syrup or when cold, split and spread with butter and peanut butter. It is our kids' favorite breakfast and whenever they are home visiting that is what they ask for.

    I loved the Little Red Chip Wagon - the food looked delicious.

  2. And one more thing - we live just 30 miles south of the British Columbia border and they have the ketchup potato chips - not popular with our family, and they also serve french fries with brown gravy - not sure I'm going to ever try that one. :-)

  3. It is interesting how regions have their own cuisine.
    I love fish n chips and my those plates look tempting. Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip and the scenery I understand is outstanding. It looks like the fish and chips would be my favourite. My niece's husband is from Cow Head and Norris Point in Gros Morne Park and will eventually retire to their property there. When we visit them in Edmonton pne day they have promised us some Newfoundland foods and hospitality. But I'll pass on the Roast Chicken chips. My husband bought a package and just opening them was bad enough for me lol.

  5. Hi, There is a Newfoundland store in Brampton that makes the most delicious fish cakes if you are ever in the Brampton area.