CNE 2016 – Extreme foods are back, this time topped with insects

he Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is Canada's largest annual community event, attracting over a million visitors over the 18 days (In 2014, 1.43 million attended).  

In its 137th year, the CNE features 1,085 entertainers and performers, 700 vendors and exhibitors, 14- farm animals, 114 midway games, 60 rides and 7 music stages.

But most exciting of course is the array of food available. And this year, extreme foods return in a multitude of colours.

This year, special "Taste Tester" Toronto Argonauts’ Michael "Pinball" Clemons revealed what is sure to be one of the most talked about dishes of the fair, Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog: a hormone-free beef frank seasoned with crispy mustard crickets. Clemons already raised a Carnival Milkshake to welcome the new season.

New foods this year include (with photos on our FB page):

Bug Dog (hormone-free beef frank seasoned with crispy mustard crickets), Tacos Grillos (flour tortilla tacos with chipotle fried beef sirloin and toasted chili lime crickets) and Beetle Juice (mango pulp, fresh lime, buttermilk and protein from roasted mealworm powder). Bug Bistro, Food Building

Spam Double Down (Two thick cut pieces of Spam serve as the bun for the center, filled with bacon, tomato, cheese and chipotle). Miami Press, Food Building

 - Fried Pig Ear Sandwich (Crispy coated pig ears, coleslaw, maple bacon, cheddar cheese with spicy chipotle aioli). Sweet Potato Pie. Farm to Fryer, Food Building

Philly Steaklair (Philly cheesesteak meets éclair: cheesesteak sandwiched between a cream puff éclair, topped with bacon, meats, whipped cream and chocolate icing). Philthy Philly's, Food Building

Churro Cheeseburger (pictured above). Pancho's/Epic Burger. Food Building

The Big Pickle Dog (Cored giant pickle with a hot dog center, smothered in corn dog batter and deep fried). Pickle Pete’s, Midway

 - The 3Sum Burger (Italian meatballs, Canadian mac ‘n cheese, and Greek fries topped with feta cheese, coleslaw and bacon). Corrado’s Authentic Italian, Midway

Chocolate Diablo Cone (Chocolate soft serve coated in cookie crumble, cocoa puffs and wasabi peas, and drizzled with Sriracha caramel). Swiss Waffle & Crepes, Food Building

Deep Fried Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Deep-Fried Cookie Dough Balls. Deep Fried Red Velvet Cookie. Cookie Dough Me, Food Building

-  Bacon Croissundae (Maple bacon and vanilla ice cream sandwiched in a croissant) The Meatloafe (deep-fried meatloaf topped with cheese and served on a bun) Carnival Milkshake, Blueberry Pie Milkshake. Fran’s Restaurant, Food Building & Midway

 - Pulled Pork Cinnamon Rolls (Pulled pork rolled into a soft warm cinnamon bun and drizzled with frosting). Howie’s Cinnamon Rolls, Midway

In addition to a myriad of food throughout the midway and in the Food Building, there are some fun food events to enjoy at this year’s fair:

- Love ribs? Ribfest takes place daily at Bandshell Park.

- Don’t miss the Craft Beer Fest & Food Truck Frenzy (August 26–28), featuring 26 trucks and ten local brewers including Beau’s, Wellington and Muskoka Brewing Inc.

- And visit the Celebrity Chef Stage where chefs Lynn Crawford, Anna Olsen, Michael Smith and others will share tips and advice during their cooking demos.

he Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) opens today August 19 and goes until September 5. 

Check out our Facebook page for more photos of what to eat this year at The Ex. And stay tuned as we'll have more coverage in the weeks to come.