The eastern reaches of Canada are many things -- adjectives like placid, wild, friendly, and wave-swept come to mind -- but one thing they aren't is gourmet. Culinarily speaking, you've more or less reached a dead end. Think Scotland, without the haggis.
Well, that's not entirely true. There are a few local tastes that might catch your fancy. Like these:
Fish and Chips -- Fish-and-chip shops certainly aren't unique to eastern Canada, but they do the chippie proud here. Check around the Halifax area, or the shoreline just to the south. Order cod if you can.
Lobster -- Wherever you see wooden lobster traps piled high on a wharf, a fresh lobster meal can't be far away. Among the most productive lobster fisheries are those around Shediac, New Brunswick, and along Nova Scotia's entire Atlantic coast. Sunny days are ideal for cracking open a crustacean while sitting at a wharf-side picnic table, preferably with a locally brewed beer close at hand.
North-central Prince Edward Island is also famous for its church-sponsored lobster suppers. The typical supper might include a lobster or two, a hunk of blueberry cake, and some corn on the cob.
Mussels & Oysters -- Some say you can't find better mussels or oysters anywhere in the world than those harvested in the shallow waters on, and offshore of, Prince Edward Island. It's hard for me to argue with that sentiment; restaurants from New York to Tokyo covet (and pay big bucks for) these prized PEI shellfish. You can get them on the relative cheap at local seafood houses and shacks; sometimes you can even buy a bag off the docks.
Newfie Fare -- Newfoundland is a world apart from the rest of the Maritimes. (Literally: It's an island without bridges.) It makes sense that a regionally unique cuisine would have developed here.
Among the things you'll see on local menus here but nowhere else in Canada: seal flipper. (Like it or not, the seal hunt is deeply ingrained in regional culture.) Other distinctive local dishes include fried cod's tongues; sea urchin; brewis (say "bruise"; basically, salted cod on a cracker); and a traditional dish known as Jiggs dinner (a pot of beef, carrots, cabbage, and other vegetables similar to New England boiled dinner).
The unforgivingly rocky and boggy soil of this blustery island resists most crops, but it produces some of the most delicious berries in Canada. Look for roadside stands selling blueberries, strawberries, partridgeberries, squashberries, and bakeapples (cloudberries, that is). Or pick your own at a local farm (cheaper and more fun). Many restaurants here also serve berries (on cheesecake, in custard, and so on) when they're in season.
The local drink to try is "screech," an extra-powerful rum.
Rappie Pie -- Foodies in search of obscure-eats rapture might indeed feel they've died and gone to heaven when they reach the southwestern shore of Nova Scotia. This area, a French enclave known as the Evangeline Trail, is one of the best places in Canada to sample tried-and-true Acadian cooking. Rappie pie is a staple of the Acadian family restaurant: a rich, potato-stock-and-onion casserole which is then topped with a pile of pork rinds (yup), and then baked. Your body fat percentage will change as a result of eating one of these.
Scallops -- The waters off Digby Neck (on the western shore of Nova Scotia) produce some of the choicest, most succulent scallops in the world. They're ubiquitous on the menus of restaurants along the western shore of Nova Scotia, and show up in lots of fine kitchens around the rest of the province, too. A light sauté in butter brings out their rich flavor best.
Smoked Fish -- Here and there, particularly along the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia, you'll come across the odd fish-smoking shack. That's not really surprising, given the huge supply of smokeable fish just offshore. The most organized and commercialized operation is the J. Willy Krauch & Son's operation in the village of Tangier, Nova Scotia. Krauch & Sons' "hot-smoked" herring is a classic turn on the form.
Whisky -- Deep in the highlands of Cape Breton, there's a distillery making lovely "Scotch" (which can't be called Scotch, this not being Scotland). So, single-malt whisky then. It's still fantastic, crafted from the pure local water.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.