Indigenous Inspired Restaurants
June 11, 2021
Indigenous cuisine is known for using seasonal, local ingredients from the land and water to create hearty, comforting dishes that would provide nourishment for the hard-working First Nations peoples. The Aboriginal nations hunted, farmed, fished and preserved foods long before the European settlers arrived with their fancy sauces. Sadly, Canada only has a few Indigenous restaurants, but there are many chefs who are trying to change that. Finding Indigenous food and restaurants in Alberta can be challenging, but it’s worth the time to learn more the Aboriginal peoples and their traditions.
Indigenous cuisine focuses on traditional ingredients, such as corn, squash, beans, wild rice, fiddleheads, berries, and other plants that could be harvested through the growing season. The Indigenous peoples of Canada were the original nose-to-tail chefs, because no part of the animal would be wasted. They ate caribou, bison, rabbit, salmon, and trout. The Métis adapted the Scottish fry bread to create Bannock, a bread that is usually cooked over an open fire. These Indigenous foods tell the story of the Aboriginal peoples.
Indigenous food fusion
Many of the Canadian restaurants where you can find Indigenous food have taken modern techniques and combined them with traditional ingredients. At Salmon n’ Bannock in Vancouver, you’ll find Bannock tacos, salmon mousse, and game sausage on the menu. Feast in Winnipig features a butternut Bannock pizza for lunch or a roasted butternut squash ravioli with bison for dinner. Wanuskewin Heritage Park, in Saskatoon, makes a bison muffuletta and a bison French dip for a play on fusion cuisine with an indigenous flavor.
Indigenous-inspired restaurants in Alberta
On the surface, Alberta may seem to lack Indigenous restaurants, but if you know where to look, you’ll find some great places to enjoy the flavors of the past. In Calgary, the Little Chief Restaurant at the Grey Eagle Hotel Resort features native foods, such as pemmican, Bannock, and salmon. In Edmonton, check out Homefire Grill, where you can find elk lasagna, Bannock bread pudding, and Greek salmon salad. There are a few Indigenous food trucks in Alberta that rotate through the festivals and cities.
Métis Crossing also offers a daily lunch menu that relies on local ingredients. Our catering menu revolves around the seasons and what nature offers. We can create a feast in the traditions of the Métis for your wedding or event. Contact us for more information on hosting your event in our cultural center.