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Strange Foods from the USA and Canada

Dishes from the USA and Canada are downright weird and even stranger, they all start with the letter P.

These four dishes are downright weird and even stranger, they all start with the letter P. Check out these dining delicacies from the USA and Canada that you just might loathe or love.

#1 Poi in Hawaii

On your dream vacation in Hawaii, you might attend a luau and if you do, you’ll likely find Poi on the menu.

Poi is a nutritious Hawaiian starch made from pounding the roots of the taro plant. This Polynesian staple is sort of sweet and sour, thick and pasty. It might be an acquired taste, but a luau wouldn’t be complete without this traditional dish.

#2 Pasties in Michigan

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, pasties are popular. These pocket sized meals, which are similar to an empanada or calzone, are filled with meat and vegetables and baked in a crust. They were typically found wherever you would find mining, because they were a great meal for workers going down into the mines, because they stayed hot for a very long time and were quite diverse and filling.

At the Taste of the Upper Peninsula, Jean Massaway and her family have been making traditional pasties since 1989. She explains these pocket sized meals as being similar to an empanada or calzone and being garnished with either gravy or ketchup, depending on your liking.

#3 Poutine in Quebec

In Quebec, poutine is a staple. You can find it in fast food restaurants or fine dining establishments. Consisting of french fries, gravy and cheese curds, this is a tasty, hearty snack or meal.

Down the slopes in the village of Mont Tremblant, you can find this popular dish at Resto-Bar Le Shack. Situated at the base of the mountain, Resto-Bar Le Shack serves up heaping portions of poutine the traditional way or with added duck or chicken for a complete after ski meal.

#4 Prairie Oysters in Alberta

I tried out our final food, Prairie Oysters, in Alberta. Also called Calf Frites or Rocky Mountain Oysters, these are actually bull calf testicles. Prairie Oysters are definitely an acquired taste, but everyone should try a Prairie Oyster at least once in their lives – if only for bragging rights!


  1. Susan St Amand

    November 11, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Darley, glad you got to taste “Poutine”. Being of French Acadian descent raised on the Northern Maine/Canadian border, we grew up eating “Poutine” as a staple. Potatoes were a main crop grown by the local farmers.

    • Darley

      November 11, 2015 at 2:30 am

      Susan, I liked it! I could definitely add that to my at home menu, especially during winter!

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe. is the companion site with travel guides, videos and information so viewers can recreate the adventures seen on the series and beyond.

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