Compiled by the Road Trip Manitoba team
Last updated on January 10, 2024
Our Prairie province sure does have a lot of amazing things to eat! Whether it’s a condiment, a dessert, a drink, or a burger, there’s no shortage of unique and delicious things to eat in Manitoba. Some of these items can be found outside of Manitoba, but all of the food items below are much beloved in the province. And if you’re a real foodie, maybe you’ve tried them all! Here’s our list of the most unique things to eat in Manitoba.
The Most Unique Manitoba Foods and Drinks
How could we write this list without mentioning honey dill? This delicious condiment is famous in the province and is rarely found outside of Manitoba. Interestingly, the sauce was mistakenly invented at Mitzi’s Chicken Finger Restaurant in downtown Winnipeg but was such a hit with patrons that the restaurant kept making it. The mouthwatering combo of honey and dried dill makes for a perfect accompaniment to chicken fingers, but we also love it with fries, pizza, and just about anything!
The BDI (Bridge Drive-In) is iconic in the city, and we consider it one of the best places for ice cream in Winnipeg. And while there are tons of tasty treats to try (say that three times fast), the “Goog” is perhaps the most famous and one of our top picks for unique things to eat in Manitoba. Consisting of an “upside down” blueberry milkshake and sliced bananas, the dessert is then layered with a hot fudge sundae and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. You have to try it… it’s delicious!
Pic-a-Pop soda started in Winnipeg in 1971 but sadly went out of business in 1996. Thankfully, Manitoba’s favourite pop is back again! Found at specialty food stores as well as bigger grocery store chains, Pic-a-Pop comes in a variety of flavours: grape, root beer, strawberry, cream soda, grapefruit, and more.
Make your way to Jeanne’s Bakery at 931 Notre Dame Avenue in Winnipeg to pick up one of their infamous “log” cakes. It’s another one of our most unique things to eat in Manitoba because, for over 80 years, these cookie-bottom cakes have been a tradition whenever someone has a celebratory event such as a birthday, graduation, or retirement. Choose from flavours such as chocolate, marble, banana, red velvet, and more!
Dead Horse Cider
Found just outside Winkler, Dead Horse Cider is a cidery, taproom and farm next to Dead Horse Creek in Southern Manitoba. As this area is known for its apples, it makes sense that the best cider in the province comes from here! Try delicious flavours such as the Original Apple, Manitoba Sour Cherry, Pineapple Coconut, and more. Uniquely Manitoban, it makes for a great gift, too.
People in Manitoba love smoked goldeye, a savoury delicacy that is perfect as a snack, appetizer, or as part of a main meal making it one of our unique things to eat in Manitoba. This freshwater fish is first marinated in brine, dried, and then smoked over cherry, oak, or hickory wood for a unique flavour. While a lot of the province’s goldeye comes from Lake Winnipeg, a lot is also found in the Saskatchewan River in Western Manitoba.
Dairi-Wip Fat Boy
A true Manitoba favourite, if you’re in Winnipeg, you must visit Dairi-Wip Drive-In (383 Marion St). Open since 1958, this family-owned and operated spot is renowned for its delicious hot dogs, ice cream, fish and chips, and fries. But the real ones know that you have to try a Fat Boy at least once in your life; this unbelievable burger with all the toppings also comes with Dairi-Wip’s famous chilli. It’s one of the best burgers in Winnipeg!
While Vinarterta cake is not originally from the province, it still ranks as one of the most unique things to eat in Manitoba! This traditional cake comes from Iceland and is made with layers of biscuits sandwiched together with a homemade prune jam. Try it in Gimli, the world’s biggest Icelandic community outside of Iceland itself.
High Tea Bakery Imperial Cookies
These cookies are so good you often have to line up to buy them! And that’s if you even make it before they all sell out. Yes, we’re talking about the Imperial Cookies from High Tea Bakery; they’re famous not only in Manitoba but around the world (even the Queen of England was a fan). People go bonkers for these almond shortbread cookies that are sandwiched with a sweet raspberry preserve and coated in pure almond icing.
Schmoo Torte – what a name! – was invented in 1948 in Winnipeg by Dora Zaslavsky, a Russian-Jewish immigrant. Eager to create something new and tasty for her son’s Bar Mitzvah, the Schmoo Torte consists of layered whipped cream, caramel, and nuts and is commonly made using angel food or sponge cake. Still popular today, it’s about as uniquely Manitoban as you can get.
Salisbury House Nips
Everyone in Manitoba knows of Salisbury House! This long-running chain of restaurants – the first “Sals” opened in Winnipeg in 1931 – is known for its all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Perhaps the most famous of their dishes? The “nip”, which is their term for a burger. Choose from one of their classic nip platters for a huge and delicious meal (we’re partial to the Three Cheese Double Nip Platter).
With a name that dates back to the 1920s, Flapper Pie has been a staple in Manitoba desserts for a hundred years. This vanilla custard pie is well-known in the prairies, and with its delicious graham cracker crust, meringue topping, and rich vanilla flavour, it’s no wonder so many people love it. Try it at Salisbury House after your nip (see above).
The Half Moon Single Dog
Lockport, Manitoba, is famous for its delicious hot dogs! Whether you try Skinner’s, Sonia’s Stand, or Half Moon Drive-In, there are plenty of delicious dogs to try. Perhaps the most famous of them all, however, is the Half Moon Single Dog. Served with mustard, relish, and raw onions, this hot dog has been called the best in Canada. In summer, be prepared to wait in line for your order… but trust us, it’s worth the wait!
Chaeban Ice Cream
Sold in stores all over Manitoba and with a brick-and-mortar shop in Winnipeg, Chaeban Ice Cream is some of the best in the country. No, really… they’ve won awards saying as much! Always made from scratch, Chaeban Ice Cream has a wonderful story behind it; the business was started as a way to say thank you to the community for sponsoring the family of Joseph and Zainab Ali to come to Winnipeg from the Middle East. Try flavours such as Abir Al Sham (a traditional Syrian recipe made with orange and rose blossom water) or Salty Carl (with sea-salt caramel, this was voted the best ice cream in Canada).
Pickerel Fish and Chips
While fish and chips are enjoyed worldwide, here in Manitoba, we take special pride in the fish we use in our fish and chips: pickerel! Also referred to as walleye (especially if you plan on doing any fishing in Manitoba), pickerel is one of our most common fish both to catch and to eat. For some of the best fish and chips in the province, head to Lake Winnipeg; we personally love the restaurants in Gimli for their fresh fish!
While bannock is eaten in many parts of Canada and the world, Manitoba is still a fantastic place to try this fry bread! There are many versions of bannock across the Indigenous and Métis peoples of Manitoba, and today, you can find modern dishes using bannock in restaurants across the province. Our favourite is the bannock pizza at Feast Café Bistro.
Pierogi certainly wasn’t invented in Manitoba, but given the province’s large communities of Polish and Ukrainian people, they’re definitely very popular here! You can find tons of authentic pierogi around the province; there’s even a “Perogy Trail” with 25 locations to try. These delicious dumplings are a staple in many Manitoban households (we eat ours with sour cream!).
Smak Dab Mustard
Created by Carly Minish-Wytinck in Northern Manitoba, Smak Dab Mustard is an amazing accompaniment to any meal. This family-run business offers delicious flavours such as Canadian Maple, Honey Horseradish, White Wine Herb, and Curry Dijon (to name just a few). The company also provides tons of recipes online for you to try their gourmet mustard in ways you may not have thought of. We’re huge fans of Smak Dab Mustard here at Road Trip Manitoba!
Tall Grass Prairie Cinnamon Buns
Tall Grass Prairie Cinnamon Buns are absolutely iconic in the province and one of our favourite unique foods to try in Manitoba. Established in 1990, the bakery is known for its local, organic, and made-from-scratch products. Perhaps the most famous of theirs? The cinnamon bun! Make sure to check out one of their locations, as Tall Grass Prairie is one of our top bakeries in Winnipeg.
We know we know… tortière actually comes from Quebec. But given Manitoba’s massive Francophone population, there are bound to be some French Canadian foods that are well-known here, too! Popular at restaurants in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface neighbourhood and often served at Christmas time in French households, tortière is a tasty meat pie seasoned with seasoned with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and dry mustard. How do you say “yum” in French?!
With a kombucha brewery and taproom on Wall Street, Wolseley Kombucha is a delicious staple in the Winnipeg culinary scene. This fermented tea can be found in shops and restaurants all over Manitoba and is made in collaboration with local food vendors (including Valley Field Acres Fruit Farm in Morden, Cornelia Bean in Winnipeg, and Awaken Herb Farm just north of the city). While it can be difficult to pick a favourite flavour, we’ve been partial to the Jasmine Green Tea and the Pomegranate Earl Grey kombucha.
Good Neighbour Brewing
With so many amazing breweries in Winnipeg and around the province, choosing a favourite is difficult. That being said, we always have some Good Neighbour Brewing beer in our fridge at home! The first all-female (and 2SLGBTQ+) owned and all-female-operated brewery in Manitoba, Good Neighbour Brewing’s beers are full of flavour and innovation. Buy their beer from local vendors or try it in their bustling taproom in the West End.
OK, OK, doughnuts aren’t exactly specific to Manitoba. But Oh Doughnuts doughnuts? We like to think that you can’t find anything else like them in Canada! These gourmet doughnuts sell out quickly every day to people who love their innovative flavour combinations. Sure, we all love chocolate and vanilla, but you should also try flavours like Earl Grey Glaze, Vegan Sour Watermelon, Sour Cherry Cola, and even Maple Bacon.
Saskatoon berries can be found all over the prairies, but they’re used a lot in Manitoba. The most common ways to eat them are in pies or jams, and we love the fact that you’ll almost always see a Saskatoon berry option next to the raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries… it always makes us feel proudly Manitoban! Try this prairie staple on your toast.
Brenna Holeman (she/her) has adventured to over 100 countries but is incredibly proud to call Winnipeg home. Brenna spent 16 years travelling solo around the world, living in Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Osaka, Antigua, and London, England. Once a writer and editor for Expedia UK, she is a co-founder of Road Trip Manitoba and also runs This Battered Suitcase, one of the most trusted and respected travel blogs in the world.