By CANDICE WALSH
You might have heard that Newfoundland has some exceptionally odd dishes. Titles like “seal flipper pie” and “fried cod tongues with scrunchions” might make you squirm in your seat. But in the past few years, the face of Newfoundland cuisine has been changing dramatically. With gourmet restaurants like Raymonds opening in St. John’s and innovative chefs like Todd Perrin staking his claim on Top Chef Canada, the Rock is quickly becoming a favourite among foodies.
Here are a handful of classics that can’t be beat:
1. Fish and chips
Fluffy, golden battered cod sitting atop a pile of crisp chips. This meal isn’t just famous in England. In St. John’s, Ches’s Famous Fish & Chips is so legendary that you’ll even earn a certificate for eating there. But locals—this one included—might point you in the direction of the Duke of Duckworth for the city’s best cod.
2. Moose everything
The moose population in Newfoundland has gotten so out of control that nowadays hunting licenses are issued even within Gros Morne National Park. You can do a lot with moose meat, including stir fry, burgers and stroganoff. The meat is sometimes tough, but flavourful and low in fat. Chucky’s Restaurant, in Happy Adventure (near Terra Nova National Park), is known for its moose stew.
3. Bakeapple jam
Also known as cloudberries, these tangy orange berries are found only in marshlands and they have an extremely short growing season (mid- to late summer). Since they’re such a rarity, bakeapple dishes can be hard to find. But if you’re willing to scout out some homemade food stands by the side of the road or a farmer’s market, you can easily find bottled jars of sugary, slightly sour bakeapple jam.
4. Cod tongues and cheeks
I know it sounds unappetizing, but I assure you that these battered and fried pieces of cod can be delicious when done right! They’re fried up in scrunchions, small pieces of pork fat, and they have a fun texture. They’re found on pub menus throughout the island: I dare you to try them.
The ultimate breakfast food in Newfoundland, toutons consist of bread dough fried up like pancakes and topped with molasses or maple syrup. Some forward-thinking folks have begun experimenting with toutons in savoury dishes like eggs Benedict and some locals have been known to dip them in stew. You can’t find them on every menu, but Classic Cafe East on Duckworth Street has awesome toutons for cheap: about $2 each.
•••Candice Walshis a travel writer and blogger.Stew, shortcake and toutons images provided by Barry C. Parsons of Rock Recipes.