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The Canadian National Exhibition, or CNE, is Canada’s largest community event held annually, and one of the top 5 agricultural fairs in North America.
CNE takes place 18 days before and including Labour Day, which is popular for being the end-of-summer ritual by 1.6 million annual visitors.
There are so many things to do in CNE. The highlights include entertainment, concerts, farm, food building, shopping, carnival rides and games, park entertainers and so much more!
On 2016, the CNE was held from August 19 – September 5 at The Exhibition. I visited CNE on August 27 with the goal of checking out the food scene and some of its popular shows.
There are two main areas for food this year: The Food Building. the most popular food spot in CNE known for its unique offerings and CNE specific food, and the Food Truck Frenzy, which hosts a wide variety of tasty food trucks and also has the Craft Beer Fest.
As usual, the Food Building was super packed with food goers wantings to try all the food offerings in CNE.
CNE Food Building Highlights
Farm To Fryer
Among one of the craziest food in CNE this year and featured in Narcity Toronto’s 13 Crazy Foods Coming To The CNE 2016, this sandwich has crispy coated pig ears, coleslaw, maple bacon, cheddar cheese and topped with spicy chipotle aioli.
This was such a great sandwich, albeit it’s not for everyone who’s feeling unadventurous since pig ear can be a little weird for most people.
I’ve eaten pig ears and love it since one of my favorite Filipino dish called sisig is made with pig ears.
Another great CNE worthy sandwich is their Tur-Pig-On Sandwich, which has deep fried turkey, pork belly, cheddar cheese, slaw and cranberry mayo.
One thing I was surprised to find since it’s a gourmet item is their duck confit, which I really loved. I’m a big fan of duck confit and this one delivered with its tender meat and flavourful gravy.
Another unique concept is this elevated version of corndog, the Fried Liver Sausage Corndog. Don’t let the “liver sausage” scare you. This sausage tastes just like any other good sausage but is flavourful and juicy.
Then we have the Sweet Potato Pie, which was featured in BlogTO’s 10 Most Outrageous Food Coming To The CNE in 2016. This one is features flakey pie crusts stuffed with maple marshmallows and topped with mashed sweet potatoes and bacon.
Also Read: Best Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken in Toronto
Steak and Cheese Factory
The Footlong Steak & Chicken & Cheese Sandwich is a fun way to share with a group of people for cheap ($13) since #sharingiscaring.
The sandwich has a mix of prime choice steak and pure chicken breast grilled with onions, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, mayonnaise, BBQ Sauce, hot sauce and disown 3-Cheese Blend.
Travelling Foodie Tip: Ask for less or no BBQ Sauce since it can overpower the meat and cheese.
One Sweet Mama’s Apple Dumplings
Here we tried the Apple Dumpling with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Fudge Sauce.
Though it was hard to cut the dumpling and the bottom part was pretty tough (or sticking to the foil), I actually really enjoyed this as it’s a good alternative to the rest of the overly sweet and unhealthy desserts at CNE!
I was contacted by BeaverTails to test their product by sending some gift certificates. Luckily, (and obviously), BeaverTails would be in CNE so I got the chance to use the gift certificates.
I ordered the Chocolate Hazelnut BeaverTail. To be honest, though the pastry itself is good, I don’t find anything particularly special about it rather than the shape.
Since I love chocolate hazelnut, I enjoyed this beavertail overall. But it can get quite sweet when you eat too much as they do give a thick layer of chocolate hazelnut. Another reason why #sharingiscaring.
Cookie Dough Me
My friend and I shared three deep-fried cookie dough: brownie, red velvet and chocolate chip. It tasted pretty much like Timbit to me, but a way unhealthier version.
Also Read: Sweetery Toronto Food Festival
CNE Show Highlights
Hit List! Aerial Acrobatic & Ice Skating Show
This is one of the must-watch shows for me. Very entertaining with various acrobatics and ice skating stunts. This year also featured 2010 Olympic Broze Medalist Joannie Rochette.
XPogo Stunt Team
This show impressed me a lot, especially since I didn’t think much about pogos before. I didn’t realize how much more you can do with a pogo stick until I saw this.
RUSH: Parkour Competitive Demonstrations
I was a bit overwhelmed by this show as I was expecting real-live Parkour action. These were mostly showing random parkour tricks here and there in a non-sequential manner.
Hope this gives you an idea on some of the things you can expect at the CNE! The Canadian National Exhibition is definitely a fun-filled event with lots of food and activities that’s perfect to go with family and friends!
CNE / Canadian National Exhibition
Website / Address: Toronto’s Exhibition Place
Disclaimer: Although my entrance and some of the food was complimentary, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the companies.