After two long years on COVID hiatus, the Canadian National Exhibition is officially back and the new food offerings are wackier than ever. While you can still pick up your tried and true carnival favourites like Tiny Tom donuts and waffle ice cream sandwiches, this year’s food vendors are pushing the limits of your tastebuds and imagination. Read on for our ranking of some of the buzziest new CNE foods from best to worst.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cheese Curds from The King of Curds
In first place – this savoury-sweet take on a Canadian classic. Deep frying cheese curds and then coating them in cinnamon sugar and topping them with a cream cheese icing may sound strange, but it’s a flavour explosion that’s strange in all the right ways. If you’re only trying one new food at the CNE this year, make sure it’s this one.
Tiramisu Croffle from Fuwa Fuwa
Tiramisu meets croissant meets waffle in this delightful confection from Fuwa Fuwa, the Japanese dessert cafe best known for their jiggly souffle pancakes. We highly recommend pairing this with an iced coffee for the ultimate treat.
Lobster Mac and Cheese Bowl from The Lobster Pot
Cheesy, creamy lobster mac and cheese is served up in a cheddar biscuit bowl in this over-the-top dish from The Lobster Pot. The biscuit bowl soaks up all of the leftover cheesy goodness from the pasta, making it so moist and luxurious. Bonus points for the big chunks of lobster!
Spice Cream from CafEhTO
Sweet meets spicy with this delightful spice cream from CafEhTO. Peach mango-spiced ice cream is drizzled with mango puree and Tabasco, then topped with spicy red pepper flakes and a Thai chili for the ultimate contrast. It has the perfect level of kick without being burn-your-mouth spicy.
Squid-Ink Korean Corn Dog from SaltSpring Concessions
If you haven’t tried a Korean corn dog yet, this is your chance! In this creative take, half of a hotdog is topped with a mozzarella stick, then dipped in a squid ink batter and panko crumbs before being deep fried to crispy perfection. Plus, the bottom of the dog is spliced to resemble a squid for a majorly Instagram-worthy snack.
Krispy Kreme Pulled Pork Sandwich from Pull'd
Saucy pulled pork and crunchy slaw are nestled in between two fluffy Krispy Kreme donuts in this epic new sandwich from Pull’d. The tangy slaw offsets the sweetness of the pork and donuts in a way that’s deeply satisfying. It wasn’t our favourite dish of the day, but we have a feeling it would be for pulled pork lovers.
Vegan Mac and Cheese Chimney Cones from Eva's Original Chimneys
While these airy Hungarian pastry cones are typically filled with ice cream, Eva’s Original Chimneys is changing things up by stuffing them with creamy vegan butternut cashew mac and cheese. You can choose between mac and cheese with crispy jalapenos and pesto aioli or the jerk mac and cheese with crispy plantains and jerk aioli. Truthfully we found the carbs on carbs a tad overwhelming, but nonetheless we appreciate that it’s a fun option for vegans.
State Fair Hot Dog from Tuxedo Franks
All beef hot dogs are topped with aged cheddar cheese sauce and caramel popcorn in this Frankenweenie of a dog. While it’s not particularly offensive, it also just wasn’t that revolutionary. We’d recommend sticking to regular hotdogs with Chicago mix on the side if you’re really craving popcorn.
Flamin' Hot Cheetos Smash Burger from Bacon Nation
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on top of more Flamin’ Hot Cheetos simply isn’t our idea of a good time, but we can respect that it might be for those who love intense spice. In this fiery creation, a fully-loaded double cheeseburger is topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and then smashed between a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos bun.
Spicy Pickle Lemonade from Real Fruit Drinks
We love a good dill pickle, but this spicy dill pickle lemonade is simply not it. We couldn’t taste any spice, but even beyond that, the drink was akin to sipping extra sweet pickle juice from the bottom of a jar of bread and butter pickles. Not all new inventions are good, and this drink proves it.