Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, and it is truly an enchanting, vibrant, and exciting city to visit while on a cruise vacation. Filled with lots of historic charm, beautiful gardens, and plenty of awe-inspiring sights and scenery, Victoria is definitively a hotspot you won’t want to miss. There are plenty of things to do in Victoria including top-notch shopping but be sure to sample the following local fare as well.
1. Butter Chicken Pizza
Butter chicken is a delicious and comforting Indian dish, while pizza is an Italian comfort food enjoyed the world over. Who would have thought of combining the two? Believe it or not, many pizzerias, both chain and family-run, are adding this tantalizing dish to the menu. But restaurants north of the border have made butter chicken pizza a very popular British Columbian food. With a sauce consisting of butter chicken sauce, yogurt, garlic and other spices, and a topping of chicken breast pieces, red onion, spinach, and cherry tomatoes, this pizza delivers an out-of-this-world explosion of flavor!
2. Wild Pacific Salmon
British Columbia food often means amazingly fresh seafood. Wild sockeye salmon in particular, fished from the surrounding fresh waters of the Northern Pacific and the rivers discharged from it, is one of Victoria’s signature food. No matter how it is prepared–broiled, baked, smoked, or what could possibly be the best way to enjoy the fish, grilled on a cedar plank, you’ll definitely want to partake of this intensely flavorful fish while on your cruise to Victoria.
3. Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab season starts in the winter on the West Coast, but you can enjoy this Pacific Ocean delicacy any time of year when you deciding what to eat in Victoria. These tasty crabs are full of luscious meat, and can be cooked and served in a number of ways. From simple steamed Dungeness Crab to more crab salad to Dungeness Crab tacos, there is no shortage of culinary imagination when using such a versatile and scrumptious ingredient.
4. Fish Chowder
Also featuring fresh salmon alongside delicious rockfish, this creamy soup is warm and comforting, with enticing smoky flavors and a subtle sweetness. Definitely another one of Victoria’s signature food, the fish chowder also features a host of nutritious vegetables such as potato, kale, and carrots. A traditional dish in the colder months, it is also served all-year-round in many British Columbian restaurants, so definitely give it a try when you see it on the menu.
5. Bannock Bread
Bannock is a traditional bread that incorporates different spices and seasonings, dried fruit, or other ingredients for subtle nuances of flavor. Depending upon the recipe you choose, the kneaded dough can be baked, rendered in fat or oil, or even cooked on a stick. The bread is light and airy, and many families in Victoria have their own family recipe.
If you want a quick break from exploring Victoria and are in need of a small snack, try a JapaDog! These Japanese style hot dogs are sold all throughout Victoria at street food stands and restaurants, and you’ll find an enticing combination of traditional Japanese dishes such as tonkatsu, teriyaki or yakisoba in the form of a hot dog. It’s a truly unique take on the hot dog as well as a memorable meal!
7. Okanagan Fruit
At first glance, you might think this small bowl of fruit is just another ordinary fruit salad. But once you taste a spoonful of the fresh, cool summery fruits, you’ll know that this is a fruit salad elevated to the highest levels of flavor. Call it a celebration of fruit, with decorations consisting of honey, apple juice, tarragon, and Canadian bocconcini, small balls of mozzarella cheese.
8. Maple Syrup
British Columbia maple syrup is rich and full of flavor, with the delicious taste of maple punctuated by subtle notes of vanilla. Gathered from bigleaf maple trees in the mountains and forests of British Columbia, the sap that is turned into maple syrup has a lower sugar content than the sap produced from sugar maples, and most of the brands are made in small batches at family farms. While on your cruise to Victoria, if you get the chance to have breakfast, you’ll definitely want to try this maple syrup on your pancakes or waffles. Otherwise, be sure to purchase a bottle or two while shopping in Victoria.
9. British Columbia Wines
British Columbia is well known for a great variety of wines. The Okanagan Valley, in particular, is where most of the vineyards lie, producing crisp, tantalizing whites to vibrant reds, and everything in between. Full of body, flavor, and character, British Columbia wines are often ranked as some of the best in the world. Be sure to enjoy a glass or two with your meals.
10. Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo Bars are the most delectable treats you’ll ever have the chance to encounter. Not quite a brownie, nor a piece of pie or a cookie, this dessert bar is a tantalizing combination of all three. The original recipe for Nanaimo Bars comes from the city of Nanaimo in Vancouver, of course, and the treat must be on your list of things to eat in Victoria when you visit the port of call on your cruise. Imagine biting into a delicious square of sweet yellow custard sandwiched between layers of a wafer-like crust of coconut-flavored graham crackers and a top layer of rich chocolate ganache. Yum!
Victoria certainly has a lot of delicious British Columbian cuisine to offer, and figuring out what to eat in Victoria first is going to be a tough decision!
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.