Before the late 1980s, the type of food that you could find at restaurants in the
Lower Mainland was standard Canadian or North American fare such as burgers,
steak, apple pie, potato salad, and ribs to name a few. However, with the advent
of Expo 86’ and the sudden arrival of an influx of immigrants from overseas,
we have seen a great change in the local culinary scene and a warm welcome of international flavours in our kitchen.
Introduction of new cuisines to Canada
The mountains, seas, and beautiful landscape of the West Coast is a great hub for
wealthy new immigrants who can afford the lifestyle here. The majority of
newcomers who have greatly influenced the local culinary culture of the Pacific
Rim upon their arrival is those who hail from Southeast Asia. Pho, sushi, and
Chinese restaurants are scattered everywhere and locals have learned to adapt
their palates and gain a great appreciation for such foreign dishes. Even
restaurant chains have reproduced their versions of popular Asian dishes
such as butter chicken, sushi, and Kung Pao chicken, and Pad Thai, dishes which
have become popular among locals. Master chefs have used imported ingredients
such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, sesame oil, fish sauce, curry, coconut, and
Thai basil infuses exotic flavours in local dishes as well thus creating fusion fare.
In addition, there has been a recent introduction of Middle Eastern flavours such as
preserved lemons and pomegranate molasses into the local cuisine. Year after
year, local chefs find more innovative ways of infusing flavours of exotic
ingredients into local dishes. Food trends evolve depending on what new
ingredients have been introduced to the local market.
Health Benefits of Emerging International Flavours
Surprisingly, some exotic ingredients imported from overseas have tremendous
health benefits. For instance, acai, a highly perishable superfruit from Brazil
which is normally consumed in cereals and smoothies contains antioxidants is
helpful with a variety of health concerns such as arthritis, skin appearance,
detoxification, and high cholesterol. Additionally, coconut water from Thailand
helps prevent kidney stones, promotes hydration, and can reduce blood pressure.
It contains potassium and electrolytes which are great for athletes. Hot and spicy
ingredients such as chilis from different countries and green tea and known to
raise our metabolic levels. A lot of naturopathic drug companies are
manufacturing supplements that contain products like chilis to boost the
metabolism of those who are on weight loss programs. Turmeric sold in capsules
at health food stores is another very popular spice whose nutritive properties aid
in reducing body inflammation. It is recommended to cancer patients and women
who want to reduce water retention in their bodies. Westcoast Canadians are
health nuts who are conscious about what they eat and take advantage of the
hiking trails in the lower mainland the beautiful outdoors to exercise their bodies
and replenish their minds by breathing fresh air and enjoying the beautiful views
from cliffs. Thus, health food companies target such customers by using
superfoods in their products for effective marketing strategies. For instance,
instead of using refined sugars, agave or cane sugar is a healthier alternative used
to sweeten cereals and bottled drinks. Many specialty grocery stores carry natural
local and imported products which boost human health.
The International flavor market is constantly growing and will always be in
demand to consumers. Locals are always looking for variety in their meals and
thus look forward to trying healthy, innovative cuisines with creative
presentations to entice their tastebuds and given themselves a treat.